Thursday, July 9, 2009

Las Pinas urban poor march on City Hall vs. demolitions, hold noise barrage vs. con-ass

Press Release
July 9, 2009
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

Some 300 urban poor marched early this afternoon on the Las Pinas city hall in time for a city council session to demand a local moratorium on demolitions. The march-rally was spearheaded by community organizations at Manggahan in Brgy. Pamplona II and Veraville in Brgy. Pulang Lupa II. The Manggahan community is under threat of eviction while the depressed area of Veraviile has been the scene of several violent demolitions in the last three months.

“We ask that a local moratorium on demolitions be passed by the Las Pinas city council in view of the violent demolitions and the threat of more evictions. A local moratorium will be in line with the recommendation by the Commission on Human Rights as per Resolution (1v) No. A2008-052,” stated Robert Labrador of the Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP).

After the rally at the city hall, the urban poor marched back to Brgy. Pamplona II around 5 p.m. for a noise barrage against con-ass and cha-cha. Labrador stated that “This noise barrage is part of the build up activity for the State of the Nation protests. The noise of the people’s protests should drown out the sound of bombs exploding that is meant to scare the masses. We call on the people to defend their democratic rights and oppose martial law or a state of emergency. The people should make noise today or else we will wake up tomorrow with Gloria Arroyo remaining in power forever as prime minister.”

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) is also demanding a moratorium on evictions in the face of the violent demolitions. “We ask that Malacanang declare 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 Renato Magtubo, chairperson of PM.

“The UDHA provides 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 Magtubo.

APM and AMP are pushing for a 5-point demand in response to the crisis: (1) Moratorium on demolitions and ban on violent evictions; (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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