By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Residents of the Waterhold Compound in Commonwealth, Quezon City said they would not leave their homes despite threats to demolish their community. The 15-day demolition notice expired on Thursday, Oct. 3.
“The authorities do not know that recycling plastics is the only livelihood we know. If they will dislocate us from our home and source of livelihood, it will only bring us to a more impoverished living condition,” Shirley Carillo, leader of the local organization Samahan ng Magkakabitbahay sa Waterhole, said.
In a letter dated Sept. 18, 2013, Marlowe Jacutin of the Quezon City local government’s Control and Prevention of Illegal Structures and Squatting asked residents to vacate their homes in 15 days. The lot being occupied by some 20 families, according to Kadamay, is being claimed by a private company BMI Realty Corporation.
A Quezon City memorandum, signed by Tadeo Palma, secretary of Mayor Herbert Bautista, mandated Jacutin to demolish the homes. The memorandum also stated that residents were dumping their trash in the nearby river. Urban poor group Kadamay, for its part, belied it, saying that residents, in fact, earn by cleaning the river of plastics and selling it to junkshops.
‘Demolish’ Napoles, corrupt officials instead
Carlito Badion, secretary general of Kadamay, said the government should instead focus their time and resources in “demolishing” businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, who was allegedly in cahoots with legislators in siphoning public funds, now more known as the infamous pork barrel scam.
“It is the mansions of Napoles, of Aquino, and all the legislators involved that should be demolished, not the homes of the urban poor,” Badion said.
Badion said funds being used to demolish homes should have been used to generate local jobs, provide a wage hike and decent housing for the poor. But he said the government continues to demolish urban poor homes because they, along with their partner realty corporations, are raking money from developing relocation areas.
New San Juan Builders Inc., for one, a realty corporation behind big relocation areas in Rodriguez, Rizal, is owned by Jerry Acuzar, brother-in-law of President Aquino’s executive secretary Paquito Ochoa.
Badion said Filipinos had enough of Aquino’s three years as president because of his anti-poor policies.
“We call for the abolition of the pork barrel system and the ousting of Aquino,” he said.