Friday, April 27, 2007

Urban Poor Alliance to endorse pro-poor candidates

Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY

Urban Poor Alliance to endorse pro-poor candidates

Urban Poor Alliance (UP-All) requests your presence at a General Assembly this coming Sunday (April 29, 2007) from 1:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

UP-All will be formally launching itself in the National Capital Region. This activity is expected to gather more than 1,000 representatives of various urban poor groups. This activity has also been deemed an auspicious moment given the upcoming elections, which has been seen as an opportunity to raise the perennial issues and concerns of the urban poor sector.

UP-All NCR has taken the initiative to rearticulate these issues and concerns in the form of a Legislative Agenda. Parallel to this effort, UP-All NCR has also engendered a process that produced a shortlist of senatorial and partylist candidates who have an acceptable character and track record and who are supportive of the aspirations of the urban poor. Selected candidates have been approached by representatives of the Alliance and (through their representatives) have attended a dialogue with UP-ALL leaders on the Legislative Agenda.

The UP-ALL NCR Launch will also be the venue where the shortlisted candidates who committed themselves on the Legislative Agenda will be endorsed. Each candidate will be asked to participate in the ceremonial signing of the Legislative Agenda and will be given a maximum of five (5) minutes to make a speech

The Urban Poor Alliance (UP-ALL) is a coalition of non-government organizations (NGOs) and peoples organizations (POs) representing over 500,000 organised constituents from the urban poor sector. With a presence in four major regions: National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, UP-ALL aims to facilitate the exercise of the basic right to decent shelter especially among the poor through intensive advocacy, broad-based networking, constant policy dialogue, and cutting-edge research.

Date: April 29, 2007 (Sunday)

Time: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Venue: Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

UP-All NCR Legislative Agenda

We, the urban poor people’s organizations and NGOs from the different areas in Metro Manila ask you to sign your agreement to the following proposals for legislation and commit to work for their realization when elected:

  1. Enact a law that will set up an independent quasi-judicial body with authority to do the following:

a. Monitor, investigate, and stop demolitions that do not comply with the law.

b. Review, monitor, and check implementation of resettlement action plans (RAPs) and social service programs for the urban poor.

  1. Enact a law compelling infrastructure projects that will displace informal settlers to have resettlement action plans (RAPs) with corresponding budgets and identified fund sources.
  2. Enact a law compelling LGUs to formulate land use plans providing for resettlement sites and sufficient land for the housing needs of their informal settler constituents.
  3. Enact a law that would disallow the use of the National Building Code as a basis for demolishing the houses of informal settlers.
  4. Commit to opposing legislative efforts to criminalize the poor as embodied in HB 4215, which seeks to amend the “Anti-squatting law repeal act of 1997” or RA 8368 and HB 3532, which define the enforceable juridical relations on occupancy on or possession of private lands in the country.
  5. Conduct an inquiry on the status of titling and distribution of proclaimed socialized housing sites.
  6. Enact a law creating a Special Charter for the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).
  7. Conduct a sunset review and assess the effectiveness of the CISFA as well as the performance of its implementing agencies.
  8. Enact a law mandating the creation of Local Housing Boards (LHBs) by LGUs.

Signed this _______ of April, year 2007 in _____________________________,

_________________________________

Name of Candidate

2007 Senatorial Candidate



If you require further information please contact:

Urban Poor Associates (UPA)
Ref: John Francis Lagman
Tel.: 4264118 / 4264119 / 4267615
Fax: 4264118

http://jlagman17.blogspot.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17

Urban Poor Alliance
Secretariat Office:
Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies, Inc. (PHILSSA)
3/F Hoffner Building, Social Development Complex
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Telephone Nos.: 426-4327, 426-4328, 426-6001 local 4854
Telefax No.: 426-0811

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cardinal Rosales concerned on plight of urban poor


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

Ref: John Francis Lagman
http://jlagman17.blogspot.com

** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE **

Cardinal Rosales concerned on plight of urban poor

15 April 2007. With only one month left before the midterm elections, thousands of urban poor families are once again plagued with the problems of distant relocation, forced eviction and of demolition by fires, and so are trying to solve the problems they face by seeking the help of Catholic Bishops from Malolos, Bulacan to San Pablo, Laguna.

Among those who have offered to help the families along the railways, waterways and R-10 Navotas is His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. At a meeting this afternoon held at the Manila Archbishop's residence in Arzobispado de Manila, the Cardinal was asked to write a letter to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and urge her to meet with representatives of the people affected.

The poor families will ask the President to order the national agencies involved, especially the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to stop evicting poor families if there is no relocation.

“If you cannot relocate, do not evict. It is clear that the national government agencies and some mayors are evicting poor families by the thousands without providing relocation. This happens more frequently now than at any time since the passage of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA),” the urban poor families said in a statement read at the end of the meeting.

Such a practice violates the Constitution, the UDHA, and the United Nations covenants that the government has signed, according to the statement read by Alicia Murphy of the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), a non-government organization that accompanied the people. “It causes terrible suffering: poor families are forced to live literally on the streets. Their children fall sick with colds and rashes. The children and the aged suffer most of all. It is a traumatic experience for school children.”

The families also oppose distant relocations. The main relocation site on the Southrail is in Cabuyao, Laguna which is 50 km. from Manila. Wage earners cannot commute because the one-way transportation cost is P70. They either give up their jobs in Manila, or divide the family between Manila and Cabuyao—workers and college students in Manila, women and children in Cabuyao. This causes extra expenses of two households and has bad effects on family life. On average, families in Cabuyao now have P2,000 less each month than they did in Manila. Many problems persist in the Cabuyao relocation area after nearly 18 months occupancy. Only 5% of families have deep well, metered water, for example, and some people do not feel it is safe to drink the water (See Southville, Cabuyao Update on http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17).

The poor families will ask the president to order the National Housing Authority (NHA) to allow alternative sites and transfer the needed funds.

Peoples’ groups in Taguig and Manila destined to be transferred to Cabuyao have taken initiatives to find alternative relocation sites. In the case of Taguig it is the cluster housing of Mayor Sigfrido Tiñga. In Manila the alternative site is Montalban. “Mayor Tiñga and Mayor Pedro Cuerpo of Montalban have agreed to accept the families from the railroad on condition that the NHA turn over to them the funds budgeted for relocation. Despite many appeals NHA refuses to do so,” the poor people said.

The Cardinal may also ask the president in his letter to decree that fire victims must be given the option to return to the area where their homes were prior to the fire.

Fire and demolitions are the mortal enemy of the urban poor, according to UPA. “There is still no overall policy for fire victims. They are often told they cannot go back to the area where they lived. Like evicted people who are not given relocation, fire victims are relegated to the streets.” -30-

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cardinal Rosales asked to stop imminent eviction of poor families




Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists


MEDIA ADVISORY

Cardinal Rosales asked to stop imminent eviction of poor families

Thousands of urban poor families who are facing imminent threat of forced evictions due to the Northrail-Southrail Linkage Project have found an advocate in Catholic Bishops from Malolos, Bulacan to San Pablo, Laguna. Among these advocates is His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales who has offered to help them in a meeting to be held at the Arzobispado de Manila on Sunday, April 15, 2007 (3:00 PM – 5:00 PM).

More than 145,000 people (29,000 families) have already been evicted from their homes in Metro Manila and Bulacan since early 2005 due to the rehabilitation of the Northrail and Southrail. The government's relocation lacked clean water, electricity and often were very far from the city, making it inconvenient for residents to find any form of livelihood.

A total of 914 families living along waterways have also been evicted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) since February this year. Most of these evictions turned violent and almost no relocation were provided. Thousands of urban poor families in R-10 Navotas face similar threats.

The Government of the Philippines was recently given one of three Housing Rights Violator Awards for 2006 for its forced evictions in the name of ‘beautification’ and ‘development’.


Date: April 15, 2007 (Sunday)

Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Venue:
Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila


For additional information please contact:
Urban Poor Associates
25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.
Tel.: 4264118 / 4264119 / 4267615
Fax: 4264118

http://jlagman17.blogspot.com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bishop Iñiguez comes to the aid of railway families




Urban Poor Associates

25-A Mabuhay Street, Brgy. Central, Q.C.

Tel.: 4264118 / 4264119 / 4267615 Fax: 4264118

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­---------------------------------------------------------------------

Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY

Bishop Iñiguez comes to the aid of railway families

Thousands of urban poor families who are facing imminent threat of forced evictions due to the Northrail-Southrail Linkage Project have found an advocate in Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez Jr. who has offered to help them in a meeting today, April 11, 2007 (1:00 PM – 5:00 PM) to be held at the PNR Auditorium, PNR Centre, Torres Bugallon, Sangandaan, Caloocan City.

More than 145,000 people (29,000 families) have already been evicted from their homes in Metro Manila and Bulacan since early 2005 due to the rehabilitation of the Northrail and Southrail. The government's response was to create relocation sites. These relocation sites, however, has no clean water, no electricity and very far from the city, making it inconvenient for residents to find any form of livelihood.

Greater engagement is needed between government, NGOs and urban poor communities to develop alternatives to evictions and to encourage development that promotes basic human rights. Hence, a dialogue was arranged between affected families and line agencies to discuss the impending eviction and alternative relocation.


Date:
April 11, 2007 (Wednesday)

Time:
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Venue: PNR Auditorium, PNR Centre, Torres Bugallon, Sangandaan, Caloocan City

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

COHRE with International Human Rights Experts Urged the Philippine Government to Respect the Human Rights of the Poor and Halt Mass Forced Evictions

**COHRE/UPA Joint Media Release**

COHRE with International Human Rights Experts Urged the Philippine Government to Respect the Human Rights of the Poor and Halt Mass Forced Evictions

3 April 2007. Mass human rights violations such as forced evictions and the destruction of housing continue unabated in the Philippines, warns the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), and its team of international human rights experts at a joint media conference in Quezon City this morning.

COHRE, the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), and experts from Cambodia, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa are concerned about widespread housing rights violations, after visiting residents at the Southville relocation site in Cabuyao, Laguna yesterday. The team of experts also visited families evicted from their homes along the waterways and railroad tracks in Manila.

More than 145,000 people (29,000 families) have already been evicted from their homes in Metro Manila and Bulacan province since early 2005 due to the rehabilitation of the Philippine National Railway system, referred to as the ‘Northrail-Southrail’ Linkage Project. A total of 914 families living along waterways have also been evicted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) since February this year, and another 500 families face the threat of imminent eviction.

Dan Nicholson, Coordinator of COHRE’s Asia and Pacific Programme, said, “All those who participated in the COHRE-led fact-finding mission were visibly moved by the desperate circumstances of the affected communities. It is clear that basic international human rights on forced evictions, and the law of the Philippines, have not been complied with. We trust that the relevant Philippine authorities will look into prosecuting those responsible for breaches of the law.”

Nicholson added, “Philippine governments at both national and local levels have repeatedly chosen to overlook the human rights of citizens by carrying out arbitrary forced evictions. The evictions have caused thousands of urban poor to lose their homes and livelihoods, and left them destitute. It is of great concern that these evictions continue to take place throughout the Philippines.”

Teodoro Añana, Deputy Coordinator of UPA, said, “Greater engagement is needed between government, NGOs and urban poor communities to develop alternatives to evictions and to encourage development that promotes basic human rights in the Philippines.”

Last December, the Government of the Philippines was given one of three Housing Rights Violator Awards for 2006 by COHRE, for the forced eviction of hundreds of thousands of people in the name of ‘beautification’ and ‘development’, with the urban poor being the worst affected. COHRE, and its team of international experts, stand by these findings, despite the denials of the Philippine government.

COHRE, UPA and the international team of experts call upon all levels of government in the Philippines to:
Halt all evictions along the railway lines, unless adequate relocation sites are found with the consent of affected communities;

Ensure that existing relocation sites are safe, secure and healthy, and that undertakings previously made by government to affected communities are fully implemented;

Halt all evictions along the waterways in Metro Manila unless domestic and international housing rights standards are fully complied with;

Invite the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing to conduct a mission to the Philippines immediately. -30-

For interviews or additional information please contact:
UPA: +632 4264118 / 4267615

http://www.cohre.org/ http://jlagman17.blogspot.com