Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moratorium on demolitions demanded in wake of Taguig eviction

Press Release
May 14, 2009
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

The Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) asked the national government for a moratorium on evictions in the wake of another violent demolition yesterday in Western Bicutan, Taguig. “We ask that an executive order be drafted by Malacanang declaring a moratorium on demolitions and a ban on violent evictions. The least that government can do in the midst of the economic crisis is to refrain from destroying the houses and livelihoods of the poor,” stated Jess Panis, spokesperson of AMP.

The AMP is a network of community organizations in the NCR, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon that has figured in recent urban poor struggles around the housing issue. Last month AMP affiliates in Veraville Subdivision in Barangay Pulang Lupa 2 in Las Pinas and Meliton in Barangay San Antonio, Paranaque fought demolition teams that resulted in injuries and arrests.

“We specifically call on Vice President Noli de Castro as the so-called housing czar to lead in the formulation of the executive order on a moratorium on demolitions. The Urban Housing and Development Act (UDHA) states that no demolition can proceed without relocation provided the urban poor. 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.

The AMP leaders held a dialogue with the HUDCC last April 30 during the Lakbayan or long march launched for the May Day mobilization. A continuation of the dialogue is scheduled on Friday. Among the topics for discussion is the call for a moratorium.

AMP is pushing for a 5-point urban poor agenda in the face of the economic crisis. The 5-point demands are: (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.


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