50 families evicted to give way to parking lot

Photo by Kadamay


By DOMINIC GUTOMAN

Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Is a parking lot more important than urban poor housing?

Urban rights group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) slammed the forced eviction of 50 families in Sitio San Isidro, Quezon City after state elements demolished their homes without prior notice on April 17.

According to the residents, the demolition team is headed by Quezon City Local Government Unit (QC LGU) Task Force COPRISS and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to give way for the construction of a parking lot for the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

“[They] entered the community without any prior document certifying the legality of the action. The families were also threatened with possible legal action against them should they resist the conduct of eviction,” Kadamay said in a statement.

As of now, the QC LGU, NHA, and PCMC have not yet released a statement about the recent demolition.

The residents said that there was neither relocation nor financial assistance provided for around 300 affected individuals. The demolition forced the affected families to spend the night along Quezon Avenue.

In a video uploaded by Kadamay, children were being threatened by the demolition team. They were also forced to endure the extreme heat without their homes, amid the dangerous level of temperature in Metro Manila.

This series of actions may be considered as a human rights violation, particularly based on Article 13 of the 1987 Constitution, emphasizing that no resettlement shall be undertaken “without adequate consultation.”

Under the 1992 Urban Development and Housing Act, the execution of demolition requires the notice upon the affected persons or entities at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of eviction, proper identification of all persons taking part in the demolition, and adequate relocation, among others.

Sitio San Isidro currently has a population of 700 households, from the previous population of 1,700 families. According to Kadamay, the population in the area decreased due to the “persistent threat of demolition and displacement” continuously affecting residents.

The residents have also reported that around 1,000 families were already relocated to Pandi, Norzagaray, and Morong due to the PCMC’s “urgent need” to construct a parking lot.

“Kadamay vehemently condemns the illegal demolition along with its lack of due process: no consultation, warning, documentation, and just compensation were provided to the affected residents. Kadamay also condemns the intimidation and threats issued by the PNP and the demolition team,” the group said in a press statement.

Kadamay said that this demolition could affect neighboring areas like Sitio San Roque, which have been under constant threat of demolition for years due to Solaire North’s developments.

“The Quezon City LGU, the national government, and its attached agencies, have not only failed its mandate to provide for its constituents and protect their right to the city but have also been an active participant in its repression,” Kadamay said.

The government institutions in charge of the implementation of the 1992 Urban Development and Housing Act are the local government units (LGUs), in coordination with the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), National Housing Authority, and the Presidential Commission of the Urban Poor (PCUP).

According to Kadamay, the NHA is not the appropriate agency to oversee the demolition as it focuses on housing programs while the PCUP carries out the “humane” conduct of demolition and/or eviction.

“The government must ensure that they adhere to the demands of the people instead of enabling evictions that work for the advantage of the powerful and the affluent,” said Mimi Doringo, secretary-general of Kadamay.

Kadamay called on the people to stand in solidarity with Sitio San Isidro’s struggle for their right to housing and to demand the government’s accountability for the recent incident.

“The government should not be accomplices to the violation of rights that they themselves vow to protect,” Kadamay said. (RTS, RVO, DAA) (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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