Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2006 Housing Rights Awards – Media Conference

Urban Poor Associates
25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.
Tel.: 4264118 / 4264119 / 4267615 Fax: 4264118
Ref: John Francis M. Lagman
http://flickr.com/photos/jlagman17

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Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY

2006 Housing Rights Awards – Media Conference

The Urban Poor Associates (UPA) and the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) requests your presence at a joint media conference to be held at the Newsdesk Café on Wednesday, December 6 (10:00 AM). It will coincide with COHRE’s announcement of the 2006 Housing Rights Awards at the Palais de Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

COHRE, an international human rights organization, presents its Housing Rights Awards annually to focus attention on ongoing violations of the human right to housing, commend efforts of government and public institutions that respect and protect housing rights, and honour individuals who have shown exemplary commitment to the struggle for housing rights for everyone, everywhere.

The Housing Rights Awards are made up of the following separate awards:
· Housing Rights Protector Award, which is presented to a government or other institution that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to respecting or protecting housing rights.
· Housing Rights Defender Award, which is presented to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment to the defense of housing rights.
· Housing Rights Violator Awards, which are presented to three governments and/or other institutions that have committed clear housing rights violations at any time during the previous year, or earlier, in clear contravention of international human rights law and related housing rights standards.

PHOTO OPS: Huge mocked up Kalabasa trophy for Housing Rights Violator awardees

Venue: Newsdesk Café
# 8 Scout Madriñan corner Scout Tobias Streets, South Triangle, Quezon City

Date: December 6, 2006 (Wednesday)

Time: 10:00 AM

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Illegal demolition in Quiapo to displace another 50 families

Urban Poor Associates
25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.
Telefax: 4264118 Tel.: 4264119 / 4267615

Ref: John Francis M. Lagman
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17
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** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE **

For Immediate Release November 22, 2006

Illegal demolition in Quiapo to displace another 50 families

Some 50 houses under the Quezon Bridge of Barangay 384 in Quiapo, Manila were demolished today by the engineering office of Manila City Hall, rendering the evicted families homeless and facing a bleak Christmas.

The demolition took place at 10:00 AM today, catching the residents by surprise since more than a week ago they had talked to the mayor and officials at the city engineering office who promised to give them a three week extension. People say they felt betrayed.

Cesar Tan, a leader from the Social Services of Quiapo Church, accused personnel from the Manila City Hall of ordering the alleged illegal demolition of their houses, many of which had been erected for more than 50 years.

Tan said the demolition came without a 30-day notice as required by the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA).

Through a dialogue with Mayor Lito Atienza last November 13, the residents pleaded that their home be spared until a relocation site is given but their appeal went unheeded. They also worry about their displacement from their livelihood and children’s school.

Atty. Christine Anne Marie R. Alcazar of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) issued a certification dated November 9, 2006 saying that the Local Government of Manila has not applied for a Certificate of Compliance for the October 22, 2006 demolition of the houses of some 52 families at Oscaris Street, near Quinta Market and for today’s demolition of some 50 families under the Quezon Bridge.

Frantic residents called the Mayor who ordered a temporary suspension of the demolition activity. They told him City Hall did not observe its own promise of three weeks extension and it also does not have a certificate of compliance from the PCUP as required by Executive No. 152 of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“In the near future in many parts of the country we may see thousands of poor families huddled along our streets, surrounded by the few pieces of furniture and clothes they managed to save when their homes were demolished. It will seem a major natural disaster has taken place. This will happen if every local government will no longer provide relocation for the poor families it evicts,” said the Urban Poor Associates, a non-government organization working with urban poor issues. -30-


If you require further information please contact Cesar at 0919-8333423 or 734-6830.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dengue outbreak in Southville, a man-made disaster

Urban Poor Associates
25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.
Telefax: 4264118 Tel.: 4264119 / 4267615

Ref: John Francis M. Lagman
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17
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** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE ***

Dengue outbreak in Southville, a man-made disaster

9 November 2006, Quezon City. “The dengue outbreak could have been prevented if the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) had responded to letters from Church, environmental and social justice groups who urged them to dispatch medical and environmental sanitation teams to the relocation site in Cabuyao, Laguna,” said the Urban Poor Associates (UPA).

Last September 8, to prevent an emerging health crisis, at least 17 non-government organizations requested DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque to seriously look into the water, drainage, electricity and indoor pollution issues in Southville, which, if adequately resolved, would tremendously improve the environmental health conditions of the residents.

“We are writing with urgency to appeal to the Department of Health (DOH) to immediately deploy medical and environmental sanitation teams to the Southville Housing Project in Cabuyao, Laguna in light of the reported occurrence of skin diseases, diarrhea and other ailments among some of the relocated railway dwellers purportedly due to the poor environmental health conditions in the area,” the letter read.

“Consistent with the Department’s mandate of ensuring accessible and quality health care services to all Filipinos, especially the poor, we urge the DOH, in coordination with the Municipal Government of Cabuyao and other concerned agencies, to speedily and effectively respond to the health needs of the relocatees. Specifically, we ask the DOH to send medical and environmental sanitation teams to the Southville Housing Project on a regular basis or until the local authorities have fully taken on this responsibility,” the letter added.

Also on September 8 for the occasion of the blessed Virgin Mary’s birth anniversary San Pablo Bishop Leo M. Drona issued a Pastoral Statement entitled “From danger zone to death zone” regarding the Southville Housing Project. “They came from the danger zone for we fully know what is life in a ‘home along da riles’ but their life in the relocation site in Southville, Cabuyao is may become a ‘death zone’ if not properly and adequately attended to,” Bishop Drona said.

Bishop Drona urged the national and local governments specifically the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chair and Vice President Noli de Castro to address immediately the basic needs of the relocatees such as potable water, electricity, provisions for proper disposal of waste and health centers. “The Social Action Office which I commissioned to look after the condition of relocates alleged that six children had already died. Living near dumps is kin to thrashing their hope for a humane and secured future,” the pastoral letter read.

To date, at least five children have already succumbed to dengue, according to the Urban Poor Southville Association Incorporated (UPSAI). The five children who died are the following: Jean Claire Mortera, 12 years old; Jethro Sotto Santos, 3 years old; Alexandra Politico, 1 ½ year old; Kayla Buiza, 3 years old; and Alexandra Kristel Buiza, 5 years old. Some 18 children were confirmed infected but survived the disease, but on November 8 another two children were confirmed positive with dengue.

As early as September, after one child died of dengue, UPSAI tried several times to bring the issue of increasing number of dengue cases to the attention of National Housing Authority (NHA). They pointed that there were manholes filled with stagnant water in Southville that were teeming with mosquito larvae and could be breeding dengue-carrying mosquitoes. UPSAI leaders like Ester Terencio repeated several times this concern to NHA officers, the latest on November 4 and 6 in a meeting with Architect Virginia Domingo in Cabuyao, who brushed off their concerns by saying there is no dengue in Cabuyao. On November 7, the DOH declared a dengue outbreak in the Southville relocation site. -30-

Friday, November 03, 2006

appeal letter re. pre-asean summit demolitions

25-A Mabuhay St., Brgy. Central,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel No: 632 426 4119-19;Tel/fax no: 632 426 4132


November 2, 2006


The Honorable Alberto G. Romulo
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Chairman,National Organizing Committee
Department of Foreign Affairs
PHILIPPINES
Fax No. 632 832 1597
Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph

Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia
Chair, Cebu Organizing CommitteeCebu Provincial Capitol
Capitol SiteCebu City, Philippines 6000
Fax Number: (+63) (032) 255-0642
Email: gov@cebu.gov.ph

The Honorable Arturo Radaza
Office of the City Mayor
Lapu-lapu CityPHILIPPINES
Tele/fax: +63 32 340 0656


Subject: Demolition of Urban Poor Houses, Arrest and Detention of Protesters


Greetings.

Our organization has received information from civil society organizations in Cebu, Philippines about the September 29, 2006 demolition of 30 shanties affecting 42 families in front of Shangri-la Mactan Island Resort and Spa in Mactan Island, Cebu, the arrest and detention of 12 people who protested against the demolition.The demolition was carried out as part of the preparations for the 12th ASEAN Summit December 2006 in Cebu. The cleared land will be used as a parking lot for Summit participants.

Since the contested land is privately owned the land claimant should have gone to court to get a demolition order. Instead the local government opted to use presidential decree 1096 of former Dictator Marcos requiring government building permit for house construction which requires a land title to be issued. Obviously squatter families cannot obtain such a permit from city hall. Under Marcos Minister for Public Works and Highways Jesus Hipolito instructed through a July 13, 1984 memorandum to government agencies not to use PD 1096 to demolish squatter houses.

The demolition operation was violent. Police used water cannons and truncheons to disperse the barricade put up by members of ASUPA (Atbang Shangrila Urban Poor Association) and students. Scores were hurt, including women and children. Thirteen were arrested with one released at once because he was a minor.

The twelve detained are the following: Almarie B. Marzado, 19; Emalyn M. Aliviado, 23; Lourd Sherry V. Perez, 23; Melba C. Ugbinada, 22; Jo Ann L. Martinez, 24; Rosita D. Blando, 54; Ronald A. Sitoy, 21; John Francis B. Aguilar, 19; Jordan M. Jainar, 19; Deogracias J. Cane, 23; Ashbel C. Edaño, 19; and Reyneil Jim V. Perez, 22. They are asked to post bail of P80,000 each (US$1,633) or a P960,000 (US$19,591), clearly beyond their means. Their detention is now more than a month.

Recently they have been charged with violation of the child abuse law Republic Act 7619 because they “induced” a minor, a 16 year old resident, to join in the barricade, a charge they deny. They are in jail with common criminals.

As you may know, forced evictions in connection with international events such as summits and conferences violate the guidelines contained in General Comment No. 7 : Forced Evictions (1997) issued by the United Nations Committee on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights. The committee is the treaty body of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which the Philippine government has ratified. The September 29, 2006 forced evictions also violated the instruction of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan which is contained in his Forced Evictions: Analytical Report (1993).

Eviction Watch therefore demands that the National Organizing Committee and the Cebu Organizing Committee, including the local government of Lapulapu City:

· Stop all forced evictions, including those being planned, related to the holding of the ASEAN Summit in December in Cebu City;
· Pay compensation and provide adequate relocation to the evicted families and observe the other guidelines prescribed by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its document The Right to Adequate Housing: Forced Evictions;
· Release, without bail, immediately the 12 people arrested and detained who protested the September 29, 2006 demolition,

Such actions will most certain show that the ASEAN, beginning with the organizers of its 12th Summit, are consistent in their avowals of creating a caring and sharing community .

Yours truly,



Respectfully yours,
Teodoro Anana



Cc

Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
President
Malacañang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
Telephone Nos.: 632-735-6201 up to 10; 632-735-6180
Fax Number: 632-733-2107

Mr. Eduardo R. Ermita
Executive Secretary
Malacanang Palace
Manila
Fax no. 632 736 1010

Mr. Ong Keng Yong
Secretary-General of ASEAN
The ASEAN Secretariat70A, Jalan SisingamangarajaJakarta 12110IndonesiaTel : (6221) 7262991, 7243372Fax : (6221) 7398234, 7243504Email : termsak@aseansec.org

Mr. Miloon KothariSpecial Rapporteur on Adequate HousingUN Council on Human RightsTel/Fax; 91.11.24358492
www.unhchr.ch/housing : www.ohchr.org/english/issues/housing/index.htm

P/Supt. Louie Tiroy OpusPhilippine National Police Headquarters (PNP-HQ)City Hall Compound, PusokLapu-lapu CityPHILIPPINESTel: +63 32 341 1311
Director General Oscar CalderonChief of Philippine National Police (PNP)Camp General Rafael CrameQuezon City PHILIPPINESTel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763Fax: +63 2 724 8763 E-mail: ocpnp@pnp.gov.ph

Mrs. Persida V. Rueda-AcostaChief of Public Attorney Office (PAO)DOJ Agencies Building, NIA Road East Avenue1104 Quezon CityPHILIPPINESTel. No. +63 2 929 9010 / 9436Fax No. +63 2 927 6810 / 926 2878Email: chiefacosta@edsamail.com.ph
Ms Leila ZerrouguiChairpersonWorking Group on arbitrary detentionAttn: Mr Miguel de la LamaOHCHR-UNOG1211 Geneva 10SWITZERLANDFax: +41 22 917 9006

NGOs condemns pre-ASEAN Summit demolitions, arrest and detention of protesters

Urban Poor Associates
25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.
Telefax: 4264118 Tel.: 4264119 / 4267615
Ref: John Francis M. Lagman
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17
.................................................................................................................
***NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE ***

NGOs condemns pre-ASEAN Summit demolitions, arrest and detention of protesters

3 November 2006, Quezon City. Non-government organizations have asked various government agencies in a letter to stop all forced evictions, including those being planned, related to the holding of the ASEAN Summit in December in Cebu City, to pay compensation and provide adequate relocation to the evicted families, and to release, without bail, immediately the 12 people arrested and detained who protested the September 29, 2006 demolition.

“Such actions will most certainly show that the ASEAN, beginning with the organizers of its 12th Summit, are consistent in their avowals of creating a caring and sharing community, said Teodoro Añana, coordinator of the Eviction Watch of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR).

ACHR and the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) condemns the September 29, 2006 demolition of 30 shanties affecting 42 families in front of Shangri-la Mactan Island Resort and Spa in Mactan Island, Cebu, the arrest and detention of 12 people who protested against the demolition.

The demolition was carried out as part of the preparations for the 12th ASEAN Summit December 2006 in Cebu. The cleared land will be used as a parking lot for Summit participants.

The demolition operation was violent. Police used water cannons and truncheons to disperse the barricade put up by members of ASUPA (Atbang Shangrila Urban Poor Association) and students. Scores were hurt, including women and children. Thirteen were arrested with one released at once because he was a minor.

The twelve detained are the following: Almarie B. Marzado, 19; Emalyn M. Aliviado, 23; Lourd Sherry V. Perez, 23; Melba C. Ugbinada, 22; Jo Ann L. Martinez, 24; Rosita D. Blando, 54; Ronald A. Sitoy, 21; John Francis B. Aguilar, 19; Jordan M. Jainar, 19; Deogracias J. Cane, 23; Ashbel C. Edaño, 19; and Reyneil Jim V. Perez, 22. They are asked to post bail of P80,000 each (US$1,633) or a P960,000 (US$19,591), clearly beyond their means. Their detention is now more than a month.

Recently they have been charged with violation of the child abuse law Republic Act 7619 because they “induced” a minor, a 16-year old resident, to join in the barricade, a charge they deny. They are in jail with common criminals.

“Since the contested land is privately owned the land claimant should have gone to court to get a demolition order. Instead the local government opted to use presidential decree 1096 of former Dictator Marcos requiring government building permit for house construction which requires a land title to be issued. Obviously squatter families cannot obtain such a permit from city hall,” according to UPA.

Under Marcos, Minister for Public Works and Highways Jesus Hipolito instructed through a July 13, 1984 memorandum to government agencies not to use PD 1096 to demolish squatter houses.

Forced evictions in connection with international events such as summits and conferences violate the guidelines contained in General Comment No. 7, Forced Evictions (1997) issued by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The committee is the treaty body of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which the Philippine government has ratified. The September 29, 2006 forced evictions also violated the instruction of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan which is contained in his Forced Evictions: Analytical Report (1993). -30-