Samal Island shoreline eviction
“What is the essence of living in Samal Island?”
“Who are the people of Samal?”
It has been 6 years that I wanted to tell a story about people of Samal Island, and I barely know my own people who have been with me since childhood. Not until I joined them in one of the struggles. The Samal Island people unite against the shoreline eviction case filed by a foreign financier, who marries a local settler.
This is our story:
The year was 2006, the shoreline eviction case of Purok 2, aka, Triding, Penaplata, Samal. A rich Neri patriarch who happens to marry an Australian citizen filed the eviction case. It affects more than 20 households around the purok.
These more than 20 households are awardees of land by the local government since 1960’s, and there occupancies are visible even at present.
The affected people united in order to counteract the claim of eviction. These people were merely habal – habal drivers, local fish vendors, shell gatherers, anglers, and although some of them were influential people in Samal Island, but then sense of unity is required in order to topple the eviction case.
The eviction case united the whole neighborhood that all of them cooperate and putting best efforts to win the case. Even though, some of them barely earning minimum wages but still we have managed to come up with monetary fund’s to provide for private lawyer.
The case never prosper right there and then it was dismiss in Kaputian circuit court. The first hearing was amazing all the affected people were there to witness the hearing. Local government even assisted the locals with a vehicle going to Kaputian district.
Finally, the case dismissed and at present, they awarded the lands to the legal occupants. The Traiding people (as commonly called to the place) never give up and their sense of unity enables them to overcome their great obstacle.
I know the eviction case is one of the best examples of unity among people here in Samal island especially that it involves unlawful claims of lands. Nowadays, Samal Island is developing towards tourism development and some of these heartless business people from local to foreign investors want shoreline for their own consumption. The Samal people are being threatens of eviction especially for those settlers in the shoreline whose ignorance of the law makes them vulnerable. Winning the eviction case through the efforts of the settlers may served a lesson for any local settlers here in Samal Island, and that we will instill to others that we are the rightful owner of our shoreline.
At present, Samal Island is the second city that implement Shelter Code,which protect shoreline settlers and other illegal settlers their inherent rights against unlawful evictions of their abode. As tourism increase and influx of investors who are buying shoreline lots for resorts. Political will to implement the Shelter Code is needed to provide Samalenyo settlers a protection.
The call to act and properly implement this Shelter Code is challenging since development is faster than it is projected and most relatively people in Samal Island are still settling in the shoreline due to lack of income to pay for the relocation sites.