26 August 2008
Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Maralita ng Cavite
Partido ng Manggagawa-Cavite
Caviteños in coastal areas call for “ceasefire” on demolitions
Facing demolition crews backed by personnel of the Philippine Navy, urban poor residents along coastal towns of Cavite held “die-in protests” and marches. They also set up human barricades calling for a “ceasefire” of planned demolitions in the province.
Thousands of residents in Bacoor, Kawit, Noveleta and Cavite City are bound to lose their homes to the construction of the R-1 or the coastal road extension project. Small fishermen in the area may also lose their livelihood with the consequent cleaning up of the bayside by the DENR and the provincial government.
In Longos Bacoor, as early as eight this morning, local residents under the Balikatan sa Komunidad (BsK) held a die-in protest and formed a human barricade along the coastal road to convey their message for a stop the planned demolitions. In Cavite City, hundreds of residents and fishermen from Canacao Bay gathered at Samonte Park and marched toward the Cavite City hall also demanding for a moratorium on demolitions in the province. They brought with them a casket symbolizing the "death" of their livelihood with the demolition of their houses, baklads and tulos.
“We call on the national government to declare a ‘ceasefire’ on all demolitions in the country in general and in Cavite province in particular while the nation is in the midst of an acute economic crisis and the government cannot even provide food and shelter to millions of its people,” declared the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Maralita ng Cavite (Sanagca).
According to Sanagca chairperson Tonette Fajanilan, some 1,000 families are going to lose homes and livelihood in Barangay Longos in Bacoor while thousands more face the same fate when clearing operations along the coastal road start today for the R-1 project. And these residents have nowhere to go because they were not provided a relocation package that can accommodate them all.
“During these times of crisis it would be very inhuman for government to deny hungry people not only their food but also their shelter,” said Fajanilan who compares their future situation to the bakwets or thousands of people who were displaced by the ongoing war in Mindanao.
Romy Cabugnason, provincial chair of the Partido ng Manggagawa who also joined the protest, blamed both the national and provincial government for pursuing the path of an ‘all-out war’ on the urban poor rather than by negotiations.
“Why can’t the government renounce the use of force and violence in dealing with the urban poor? Does the government want the poor to take up arms like the MILF before it negotiates with them on the demand for humane relocation?” lamented Cabugnason.
Cabugnason said their group is not against development, as they believed that it is only through social progress that the poor can be lifted out of poverty.
“But the government has to make sure that social progress brings social justice to communities. That after being evicted from so-called “danger zones” they are not relocated to ‘death zones’ without services and livelihood; that the poor are provided better communities to live than from where they are now; that development redound to people and not just to business,” Cabugnason concluded. ###