Thursday, May 31, 2007

MMDA illegal demolitions / violent forced evictions

MMDA continues creekside demolition in Quezon City




Solons tussle with MMDA demolition crew in Quezon City





QC Rep. Bingbong Crisologo at MMDA officer Bobby Esquivel, muntik nang mangpang-abot sa isang clearing operations





MMDA demolition of shanties starts





MMDA to continue demolitions on major roads





MMDA dismantles illegal structures in Quezon City





MMDA tears down signboards at a QC sidewalk





MMDA demolishes houses under bridge in QC





2 MMDA men hurt during Pasay clearing operations


Friday, May 25, 2007

South Korea concerned on plight of railway dwellers in RP




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

Ref: John Francis Lagman
http://jlagman17.blogspot.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlagman17

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

South Korea concerned on plight of railway dwellers in RP

25 May 2007. Finance and Economy Ministry of South Korea has expressed concerns regarding the relocation of railway dwellers that were affected due to the Northrail-Southrail Linkage Project.

“Our government is well aware of the importance of the issue of relocating local residents in that project, and we emphasize once more that we plan to continually watch to see whether it is being implemented according to international standards,” the Finance and Economy Ministry said in a letter sent to Urban Poor Associates (UPA), a non-government organization that monitors evictions along the railways.

In order to relieve the transportation jam in Metro Manila and at the same time to develop parts of Metro Manila that were becoming slums, South Korea decided in December of 2003 to support the railway project. However it has consistently maintained the position that preparing and implementing adequate relocation for the residents alongside the railway is a precondition for providing support for the project.

“In spite of the continuing Philippine government requests to speed the implementation of the project we have had an international body inspect the conditions of the planning and implementation of the relocation,” the Finance and Economy Ministry said.

In order to monitor whether the relocation is fairly and adequately being carried, South Korea provided the budget for an expert on relocation who belongs to the Asian Development Bank to do a survey on the relocation conditions of the residents displaced by the project, their living conditions in the relocation sites, their degree of satisfaction, and the like.

A second evaluation of the relocation conditions took place last February and following the expert recommendations, South Korea linked the approval of a project purchase contract to provision of a quarterly report on relocation implementation and the possibility of ceasing disbursement of funds in case there would not be adequate and fair relocation.

According to the Finance and Economy Ministry, in the future as well, South Korea will continually monitor whether the railway project is carrying out relocation of the residents adequately according to international standards.

“Our government has already expressed its willingness to support the relocation plan but the Philippine government has not accepted it. If the Philippine government makes a request to support the provision of basic facilities in the relocation settlement we will positively consider it,” the Finance and Economy Ministry said.

“Nevertheless, since credit support is only possible when the receiving country is willing to receive it, at present it is difficult to provide support for the relocation. Our government will in the future also positively consider putting such a support plan on the table at inter-government meetings,” the Finance and Economy Ministry added.

According to UPA, a Philippine petition sent by the Koalisyon ng mga Samahan sa Riles Katimugan (KOSARIKA) was received in South Korea last March. The petition was presented by the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) Korea Committee to South Korean President ROH Moo-Hyun.

The Korean petition requested the President to suspend disbursement of funds for the railway project pending provision of adequate relocation. It mentioned that the World Bank also makes such stipulations, and that the human rights violations are detrimental to Korea’s foreign policy objectives.

On April 18, 2007, Park Mun-Su, a representative of the ACHR Korea Committee visited Mr. Kim Su-Hyun, the Secretary to the President for Social Policy. Mr. Kim arranged for them to meet with Mr. Song Seog-Jun, Assistant Secretary to the President for Civil Petitions & Institutional Innovation.

Mr. Song listened to the account of the terrible conditions suffered by those who have been affected by the railway project. He agreed with the petitioners that the infringement of human rights involved in the project really does counteract the intent of the project to nurture good relations between the two countries. Therefore the situation would seem to call for Korea’s concern over how the project is being implemented. -30-

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Urban poor sumugod sa Mendiola




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 *** NEWS RELEASE **

Urban poor sumugod sa Mendiola

9 May 2007. Magmula sa makasaysayang San Sebastian Church, nag-aapoy sa galit na sumugod sa Mendiola ang mga maralitang tagalunsod na nagmula pa sa ibat-ibang panig ng Metro Manila upang ipabatid sa Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ang kanilang nais na pakikipagpulong upang matugunan ang mga suliraning bumabagabag sa kanila.

Naubos na umano ang kanilang pasensya sa kahihintay sa sagot ng pangulo sa kanilang mga sulat na ipinadala nuon pang Abril kung kaya’t minabuti na nilang mag-rally.

Ayon kay Evelyn Franco, kalunus-lunos ang kalagayan ng 914 pamilya na naninirahan sa kahabaan ng estero sa Paco at Pandacan, Manila matapos umanong mademolis ang kanilang mga bahay at sapilitang palayasin ng Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) magmula pa noong Pebrero.

Dahil walang ibang mapuntahan, napilitan silang tumira sa gilid ng kalsada kung kaya’t marami sa mga bata at may edad ang nagkakasakit. “Hindi namin gusto na matira sa ilalim ng tulay o estero ngunit dala ng kahirapan nagtitiis kami para mabuhay ng marangal at nagbabakasakali na mabago ang kalagayan namin sa buhay. Kung walang relokasyon, huwag naman sanang mag-demolis,” pakiusap ni Mrs. Franco.

“Libo-libo ang dinedemolis ng gubyerno at kadalasan pa ay marahas at walang binibigay na relokasyon. Ito ay mas madalas na nangyayari sa ngayon higit kailanman magmula nang maisabatas ang Urban Development and Housing Act,” ayon kay Atty. Bienvenido Salinas II ng Urban Poor Associates o UPA, isang non-government organization. “Ang ganitong mga gawain ay malinaw na paglabag sa Saligang Batas at sa mga United Nations covenants na ating nilagdaan.”

Kaugnay nito, nakiusap naman ang Arsobispo ng Maynila Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales sa pangulo na tulungan ang mga grupo ng maralitang tagalunsod. “It is our fervent hope that their concerns and requests would merit Your Excellency’s favorable consideration. Whatever help you will extend to them will be greatly appreciated,” ayon sa sulat ng Cardinal.

Dahil sa sulat ng Cardinal, tila nabigyan naman ng pag-asa ang mga maralitang nagmula pa sa Caloocan, Maynila, Taguig at Navotas. Umaasa sila na dahil may suporta ng simbahan, sila ay haharapin ng pangulo. Kabilang dito ang Alyansa ng mga Samahan ng R-10 Navotas na nanindigan para sa mga pamilyang apektado ng Road Widening Project ng Department of Public Works and Highways.

Tinatayang 50,000 pamilya naman ang palalayasin sa riles mula Caloocan City hanggang Calamba para mabigyang daan ang rehabilitasyon ng Philippine National Railway (PNR). Ngunit ayon kay Evelyn Mojica, ang relocation sites ng gubyerno sa Towerville, Cabuyao at Trece Martirez ay hindi angkop dahil kulang sa batayang serbisyo tulad ng kuryente, malinis na tubig na maiinom at higit sa lahat ay mawawalan sila ng hanapbuhay dahil malayo sa dati nilang tirahan.

Dahil sa pagsusumikap ng Koalisyon ng mga Samahan sa Riles Katimugan (KOSARIKA) napakiusapan si Mayor Sigfrido Tiñga ng Taguig at Mayor Pedro Cuerpo ng Montalban na tanggapin ang mga apektadong pamilya. Kung kaya’t nais ng kanilang grupo na hilingin sa pangulo na utusan ang National Housing Authority na ibigay ang nakalaang pondo upang maumpisahan ang mga alternative sites.

Samantala nanawagan din ang mga biktima ng sunog sa Metro Manila sa pangulo upang ito’y magtakda ng batas na nagsasaad na maaaring bumalik sa dati nilang kinalalagyan ang sinumang biktima ng sunog. Ayon sa kanila, mortal na kaaway ng mga maralita ang sunog dahil tulad ng mga nadedemolis, sila ay napipilitang manirahan sa daan kapag walang relokasyon. -30-

Monday, May 07, 2007

UP residents stage protest action against demolition




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 **

UP residents stage protest action against demolition

8 May 2007. Residents of villages inside the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City held a protest rally this morning to oppose the UP administration’s move to rid the campus of informal settlers.

The Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Maralita (NALAMA), a peoples organization from 20 barangays within the University, led the protest action at the Oblation in front of the UP Administration Building.

Residents were protesting the impending demolition that they said would eventually dislocate 25,000 urban poor families. Some residents said they have been in the area since 1970s.

Houses of at least 9 families in C.P. Garcia are set to be demolished this month tagging it as a tactic of UP at removing all informal settlers in the campus.

According to Urban Poor Associates (UPA), beginning in 2001 the people had negotiated with UP and Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and had arrived at a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that needed only the concurrence of UP’s Board of Regents.

“It seemed a win-win solution for all parties: the people would get land tenure security and eventual upgrading; the university would get easy access to all the land needed for education purposes and the people’s assistance in limiting the entry of additional poor families; the city would get 25,000 families settled at very little cost. Land security would be long-term leases. The mayor would supply infrastructure – light, roads, drainage etc.,” the UPA said in a statement.

But before the Regents could vote, a change was made in the university’s administration. The new administration issued a series of policy papers that outlined a 180% turn in their mode of relationships with the urban poor, whom they described as enemies of UP.

The papers said the university would no longer negotiate with the poor and would hire more guards and evict rather than negotiate a solution to urban poor problems. The university’s new officials refused to meet with the poor for meaningful discussions.

What the administration proposes are: that demolitions be accepted, if not supported, by the academic community as a politically correct option; that UP will rule out relocation, on site development and other negotiating stances that alienate land and violate the UP Charter.

The UP administration has invoked its exemption from the coverage of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) which requires government to relocate families it evicts.

The House of Representatives legal office led by Parañaque City Congressman Eduardo Zialcita has said UP is not exempt. “While it may be true that UP lands are exempt from the operation of UDHA (RA 7279) with respect to the eviction of informal settlers, the university is not however exempt from the constitutional requirements of prior consultation with those who will be affected by the demolition and consequent resettlement and the just and humane manner of effecting the same under Section 10, Art. XIII of our fundamental law.” -30-

Urban poor set to march to Mendiola




Urban Poor Associates

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

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

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Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY


Urban poor set to march to Mendiola


Urban poor families in Metro Manila are set to march to Mendiola on Wednesday (May 9, 2007) beginning 9:00 in the morning to urge President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to meet with them.

The people have sent various letters to President Arroyo endorsed by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales asking for a meeting but to no avail.

Representatives of the urban poor groups want to hold a dialogue with Mrs. Arroyo to make her aware of their problems.

Hundreds of families, for example, are now living in the streets after their houses built along esteros in Paco, Manila were demolished by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). There was no relocation.

Evicting poor families without adequate relocation violates not only the Constitution but also the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) and the United Nations covenants.

Thousands of families living along the railroad tracks in Manila, Caloocan and Taguig wants the demolition of their houses stopped until the government considers in-city / near-city relocation sites as alternatives to its distant relocation sites (Cabuyao / Towerville / Trece Martirez) where life is extremely hard. They want the National Housing Authority (NHA) to hand over the funds it holds to Mayor Sigfrido Tiñga of Taguig and Mayor Pedro Cuerpo of Montalban who have agreed to accept the families and let them do the relocation work.

Urban poor communities in Navotas that were burnt out by fires were told they cannot return to the area. This effectively puts them in the streets, and again violates the law.

The people will gather at 8:00 AM onwards. We hope the police will permit the march. The presence of media will help ensure calm.

Date: May 9, 2007 (Wednesday)

Time: 9:00 AM

Assembly Point: San Sebastian Church, Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila

UP residents to stage protest action against demolition




Urban Poor Associates


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

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

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

Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists


MEDIA ADVISORY

UP residents to stage protest action against demolition

The Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Maralita (NALAMA) requests your presence at a protest action tomorrow (Tuesday / May 8, 2007) beginning 9:00 in the morning at the Oblation in front of the Administration Building, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Residents of villages located inside the University will hold a protest rally to oppose the UP administration’s move to rid the campus of informal settlers.

The UP administration has invoked its exemption from the coverage of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) which requires government to relocate families it evicts. The House of Representatives legal office has said UP is not exempt.

NALAMA is a peoples organization from 20 Barangays within UP Diliman Campus.

Date: May 8, 2007 (Tuesday)

Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 NN

Venue: Oblation, Administration Building, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City