April 28, 2012
The residents of the depressed community of Tucuma in Barangay Merville, Parañaque who have been preparing to fight off an eviction heaved a sigh of relief and welcomed the temporary suspension of demolitions ordered by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo hours after they held a rally and sought a dialogue with his office yesterday.
“We however call on Sec. Robredo to extend the moratorium till the housing and even jobs policy of the government is reviewed and reformed,” Ramil Asturias, Tucuma Federation president said. This was in reaction to reports that the suspension will only last until the regulations on demolitions are assessed and affirmed.
Leaders of Tucuma Federation together with residents of NIA compound in
Quezon City and West Bicutan who face similar land disputes staged the rally and were met with a DILG official named Clarion Paz-Tanghal who received the letter on behalf of Sec. Robredo. appealed to Robredo to facilitate negotiations between Tucuma Federation, the landowner Molave Development Corporation and Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe. Asturias
Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa chairperson, supported
’ position and said that “Suspending demolitions until new rules are drafted merely scratches the surface of the problem. The government needs to address the root cause of lack of housing for the poor. The housing program is tied up with the jobs and wages policy. The low wages in the country, as attested by a recent report of the ILO, means that the poor have barely enough income for food much less rent or amortization on housing.” Asturias
Magtubo announced that a long march or Lakbayan from Calabarzon to
will be held on the eve of Labor Day and banner the call “Stop to demolitions, Housing and jobs for all.” Some 400 workers, youth and poor from Manila Cavite, Laguna and Batangas will march from Zapote early in the morning of April 30 then merge with a contingent from Metro Manila by 3:00 p.m. in Baclaran and stay overnight at the in Balic-Balic. On May 1, the “Lakbayan para sa Pabahay at Trabaho” will join the huge 20,000-strong “historic” rally by the newly-formed Nagkaisa, which unites the country’s major labor center for the first time since the 1980’s. Holy Trinity Church
Magtubo revealed that the number of informal settlers was estimated at half a million families by a HUDCC study in 2007 while the housing backlog is assumed to be 3.7 million units. “Tucuma’s fight is the fight of all. Decent housing is a right not a privilege of all Filipinos. Violent evictions must be prohibited. Land disputes must be resolved through negotiations without the threat of violence, deceit or bribery. Residents must be relocated to better living conditions to ensure that negotiations end peacefully in agreement,” he insisted.