Saturday, April 4, 2009

Urban poor group condemns violent demolition, arrest of leaders

Press Release
April 4, 2009
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

The Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) and the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) condemned the violent demolition yesterday of the depressed community of Militon in Paranaque City. The groups also slammed the arrest of two urban poor leaders in two separate incidents yesterday

According to Robert Labrador, an AMP leader, “Willy Candelario of Paranaque and Femelda Galura Avilen of Mandaluyong must be released since their arrests are mere harassment. Their only crime, if it can be called that, is fighting for the right to decent housing for the poor.”

Candelario was arrested during the demolition at Militon in Barangay San Antonio, Paranaque. While Avilen was hauled by the police in Hinahon, Barangka Drive, Mandaluyong City in the midst of the occupation by the poor of a housing project.

“Holy Week is still a few days away but these events highlight the calvary of the poor in our country. Yesterday seemed like Black Friday for the Militon community, and the demolition crew that used a bulldozer and the Paranaque police that threw tear gas were like Roman centurions,” asserted Labrador.

In the community of Hinahon, 16 families occupied early morning yesterday the vacant housing units that were allotted to them as legitimate beneficiaries but were denied them by a syndicate. The Hinahon is a Gawad Kalinga housing project in partnership with Megaworld and the city government of Mandaluyong.

AMP and PM are calling for a moratorium on demolitions and evictions in the face of the economic crisis. The groups will emphasize that demand in the yearly “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” to be held on Monday. The “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” is a traditional march-protest to draw attention to the plight of the poor.

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