Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paranaque urban poor march on city hall against demolitions

Press Release
February 18, 2010
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

Some one thousand urban poor from different depressed communities in Paranaque marched on city hall to demand a stop to demolitions. “We demand a demolition ban, similar to the gun ban, for the duration of the election period,” stated Robert Labrador of the Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP), a coalition of urban poor organizations in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

The AMP rally assembled by 1 p.m. at Kabihasnan in Paranaque then marched along Sucat road to the city hall. In the hour long march, the rallyists chanted slogans against demolitions of communities and for a moratorium on evictions.

The big urban poor rally was sparked by a demolition in the depressed community of Palasan which is right beside the Amvel subdivision of Mike Velarde. Last February 11, the houses of some 110 families in Palasan were demolished and their possessions dumped in the nearby Palanyag Tramo cemetery. Four people were temporarily detained but have already been released. Labrador claimed “The demolition was illegal since there was no court order and hearings were still ongoing.”

Judy Ann Miranda, secretary-general of labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), expressed support for the march against demolitions. “The moratorium on demolitions must be enforced not just for the duration of the election period but the length of the economic crisis. If the government cannot provide affordable and safe housing for the homeless then it has no right to deprive the poor not just of their homes but of their livelihoods by demolishing their communities,” Miranda declared.

The AMP is calling for financial assistance and decent relocation for the victims of the Palasan demolition. Labrador also criticized Paranaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe for inaction. “Mayor Bernabe went to Palanyag while the demolition was ongoing but went away without assisting the victims,” Labrador said.

Leaders and members of PM in Paranaque joined the march and rally at the city hall.
The demand for affordable housing is part of the 4-point election platform of PM which is running for the House of Representatives through the party-list system. The other planks of the PM party-list platform are regular jobs, a living wage and health care coverage for both employed and unemployed.

Some 1,980 people live in the depressed community of Palanyag. Some 13 families have already received P100,000 each in financial assistance and been relocated from the disputed land.

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