Monday, May 16, 2011

Groups rally against “balik-probinsya program,” call for moratorium on demolitions

Press Release
May 16, 2011
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) mobilized its members for a rally led by the urban poor alliance Kilos Maralita at the HUDCC main office in Makati. Some 500 urban poor picketed the Atrium Building in Makati this morning.

“The proposed balik-probinsya program is a wrong solution to the problem. The urban poor built the cities and we are entitled to live in it,” declared Ramil Cangayao, an AMP leader.

Some 500,000 informal settlers are set to be relocated to the provinces under the balik-probinsya program proposed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). After the HUDCC rally, the protesters also proceeded to the DAR main office at the
Elliptical Road
in Quezon City to continue the rally. The groups lambasted the balik-probinsya proposal.

The groups also called on President Benigno Aquino III to sign a draft executive order that provides for a moratorium on demolitions and evictions. “The spate of violent demolitions in Metro Manila and other areas, such as the Laperal compound, reveal the need for a moratorium on evictions. During the pendency of the moratorium, government must hold an honest dialogue with the urban poor for strategic solution to the problem of housing for the poor,” explained Cangayao.

AMP is a network of urban poor organization in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon that is campaigning for a moratorium on demolitions, reforms in the housing policy and housing security of informal settlers.

PM, AMP and Kilos Maralita are involved in the consultations held by the cabinet level task force headed by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo with the mandate to formulate and recommend policy resolutions on the housing issues confronting the urban poor. An executive order for the moratorium drafted as a result of the consultations has remained unsigned by President Aquino.

Ed Casuy, leader of the Paranaque chapter of AMP, said that “We appeal to PNoy to make good on his campaign promise that he will declare a moratorium on demolitions and evictions. This is a promise that has remained unfulfilled to this day. Everyday that PNoy delays implementing a moratorium, more urban poor fall victim to illegal and violent demolitions and evictions.”

“Are vested interests with connections to key officials of PNoy blocking the draft moratorium order? Or has PNoy himself turned his back on his promise to the urban poor? The urban poor will not stop hounding PNoy in order to know the answer,” Casuy asked.

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