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

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.

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