It was a victorious afternoon for more than 4,000 homeowners of Barangay Apas, this city, now that they can own the lots they have been occupying after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the compromise agreement allowing them to purchase the property.

A Committee Hearing on Housing was held yesterday to follow up the status of Presidential Proclamation 409, “Declaring certain parcels of land situated in Barangay Apas, Cebu City as socialized housing sites by the House Oversight Committee on Housing and Urban Development.”

Development Chair and Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez announced the good news at the Central Command (Centcom) in Barangay Apas with no less than House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo together with Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña attending the Committee Hearing.

House Speaker Arroyo said that the case is now closed and the Provincial Government will take over the remaining lot survey and residents can start paying the property they are occupying if they want to.

Members of the Alliance of Barangay Apas Community Association Inc. (ABACA) were also present during the hearing who expressed their gratitude to House Speaker Arroyo, Mayor Osmeña and everyone who was part of the success.

For his part, Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña thanked House Speaker Gloria Arroyo for being with the Cebuanos all throughout the battle in giving the homeowners the chance of buying the property they are occupying.

The mayor expressed his happiness for the residents who will benefit from the compromise agreement and added that he just did his share as there might still be disputes that the homeowners can fix themselves, what is important is they now have the ability to own the properties.

"We will do whatever is necessary to satisfy the greater number", he added.

He also credited Special Assistant to the Mayor, Mr. Bimbo Fernandez for the success.

(Jessa L. Celocia & Levy Sayago/PIO)