Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Church asked to support call for moratorium on demolitions

Press Release
April 21, 2009
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

The Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP), a nationwide group of militant urban poor organizations, called on Cardinal Rosales and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to support the call for a moratorium on evictions of the urban poor as another violent eviction occurred in Cebu yesterday.

“We ask that the Church lend its voice to the demand for a moratorium on demolitions and a ban on violent evictions. As the Church backs the rural poor’s fight for agrarian reform, so we hope it will also support the urban poor’s struggle for decent housing,” stated Jess Panis, spokesperson of AMP.

Six people were hurt and three arrested in the violent eviction in Sitio Kalubihan, Barangay Talamban in Cebu as residents fought a police SWAT team sent to reinforce the demolition team. Last Wednesday, seven people were hurt and three arrested as residents resisted the demolition of a depressed community in Veraville Subdivision in Barangay Pulang Lupa 2 in Las Pinas. While on April 3, bulldozers were used in the violent demolition at Militon in Barangay San Antonio, Paranaque.

In response to the series of violent demolitions, AMP is advocating a 5-point agenda: (1) Moratorium on demolitions and ban on violent evictions. LGU’s should pass ordinances to implement the Commission on Human Rights Resolution (1v) No. A2008-052 recommending a moratorium; (2) Condonation of penalties and interests on low-cost and socialized housing loans. Draft a pro-poor implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act 9507 or Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Restructuring Act of 2008; (3) Jobs for the 3 million unemployed. Reform and expand the public employment program; (4) Allot 20% of the land in housing projects for socialized housing as provided for in the UDHA. Thus on-site relocation will be possible and the urban poor need not be relocated to undeveloped areas without services and jobs; and (5) Shift the bulk of the P330 billion fund for the stimulus plan to direct support and social services to the poor instead of infrastructure projects which benefits principally contractors and business.

“Honest to goodness negotiations with the community must be conducted for decent relocation. Residents are resisting and fighting evictions because they are being relocated to death zones where there are no livelihood and services,” explained Panis.

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