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The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the dismissal of a suit filed by officials of a barangay (village) in Manila on behalf of its residents, seeking to stop the intended demolition of houses and structures within the South Harbor Expanded Port Zone in Port Area, Manila.

In a 20-page decision written by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta dated August 26 and made public on Wednesday, the appellate court's 2nd Division upheld the Sept. 16, 2019 decision of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 junking the case filed by officials of Barangay 650, Zone 68 against the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). 

"In sum, the Court finds no error in the trial court's finding that there was no grave (abuse) of discretion on the part of the respondents-appellees (PPA) in the intended demolition of the houses and structures on the sidewalks and streets/roads of 11th street and 12th street South Harbor Expanded Port Zone, Port Area, Manila," the court said.

Named as respondents in the suit were the City of Manila and the National Housing Authority (NHA).

On June 28, 2000, the PPA issued notices to the occupants, directing them to remove their respective houses and structures within 30 days to give way to its widening project in the area, which would otherwise be demolished.

On July 20 that year, the petitioners filed with the trial court a petition against the PPA to stop the latter from demolishing their houses and structures, claiming a violation of Republic Act (RA) 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, alleging a lack of consultation and adequate relocation and financial assistance to the affected occupants.

Ruling otherwise, the CA upheld the lower court's findings that there had been no violation of legal rights for consultation and relocation under RA 7279 as it does not cover land that is among "those used, reserved, or otherwise set aside for government offices, facilities, and other installations, whether owned by the national government, its agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (such as the PPA), or by the local government units." 

Associate Justices Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela and Tita Marilyn B. Payoyo-Villordon concurred with the decision.

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