Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paranaque residents march to City Hall to demand in-city relocation

Press Release
February 19, 2009
Alyansa ng Mamamayan ng Paranaque

Around 1,000 Paranaque residents marched this afternoon from SM Bicutan to the City Hall in time for a City Council meeting to demand in-city relocation for communities that were victims of demolitions or are under threat of one. They held placards calling for “Katiyakan sa Paninirahan, Kasiguruhan sa Kabuhayan!”

“We appeal to the Paranaque City Council to heed the cry of their constituents. We demand in-city relocation because our jobs will be displaced if we are forced to move to the provinces. This is not the time for the government to destroy the homes and livelihood of the poor with tens of thousands being laid off and prices of basic goods escalating,” argued Romy Cabugnason of the Alyansa ng Mamamayan ng Paranaque (AMP).

Leaders of AMP addressed the City Council regarding their demand. They also sought an ordinance affirming the expropriation of a disputed lot in Brgy. Merville. Urban poor residents who had occupied the lot were being harassed by the barangay captain who had blocked entry points to the disputed area.

Members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) in Paranaque also supported the mobilization. PM is spearheading a campaign for a moratorium on demolitions and evictions.

“We ask the government to issue a moratorium on demolitions and evictions together with a condonation of penalties and interests on low-cost and socialized housing loans. The least that the state could do during a crisis is to refrain from destroying the houses and livelihood of the poor. The only exception to the ban on demolitions is when relocation is negotiated with and agreed upon by the affected communities,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

Last Monday, some 300 Bacoor residents held a picket and dialogue at their City Hall to demand relocation and assistance. A week before, last February 10 another 300 relocatees from Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan held a protest at the main office of the National Housing Authority to demand condonation of interests and penalties. Next week hundreds of Cavite residents who are affected by the R-1 road extension project in Bacoor and Kawit are mobilizing for a dialogue with the provincial government.

On February 24 and 25, a two-day Lakbayan will be launched by workers and the poor to call for a 5-point bailout package. The bailout of workers and poor calls for a subsidy for displaced workers; tax refund for wage earners; expansion and reform of the state employment program; extension of Philhealth coverage to the recently laid off; and a moratorium on demolitions and evictions.

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