Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poor families and small entrepreneurs face eviction

Press Release
November 7, 2010

The urban poor have no where to go as their basic right to shelter was overruled by special proceedings of the courts. Scores of poor families in Paranaque held a noise barrage this morning against the planned demolition of their shanties.

Last October 30, some 150 poor families living at Lorenzana Compound located at 1340 Quirino Avenue, San Dionisio, Paranaque City were surprised by the Court Sheriff and private guards when they were asked to leave their homes. The urban poor however claim they never received any notice both either the court or Chinabank that had acquired the said property.

Enrico Saporna, the president of the Samahan ng Makakapitbahay sa Lorenzana Compound, said, “We are poor and lowly families but we know our rights. We know that Chinabank cannot just evict us. Even though we do not question their ownership of the property, we nonetheless criticize the proceedings that transpired in the court, as we were never called to represent ourselves in court and asked for remedies which the state guarantees, which is our basic right to shelter.”

He added, “We appeal to the China Banking Corporation to provide decent relocation to the affected families. Chinabank should exercise corporate social responsibility as we remind them of their mission statement, which states ‘We will maintain the highest ethical standards, sense of responsibility, and fairness with respect to our customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities we serve.’”

Alfredo Valera, auditor of the Samahan ng Magkakapitbahay and also a small entrepreneur in the area said, “We pay our taxes religiously and even the fees that the government charges so we can operate. But then our right to operate was overruled by mere special proceedings of the court which violated our rights as dwellers in this property.”

The Partido ng Manggagawa is assisting the urban poor community. Eduardo Casoy, the president of PM in Paranaque City said, “The situation of the poor families in Lorenzana Compound is one of the many cases of violations of informal settlers’ basic rights. This is hidden through the use of court procedures to prevent the poor from asserting their right through legal action. Thus we appeal to the national government, if this new administration is really walking on the ‘tuwid na daan,’ to implement and approve the recommendation from people’s organizations to release an executive order which provides moratorium on eviction and demolition for three years while the government reviews its housing and shelter policy and provide decent shelter as well.”

The Samahan ng Magkakapitbahay together with the Partido ng Manggagawa’ will try to seek assistance from various government offices while the whole community holds their ground until relocation is provided.

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