Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cardinal Rosales marks feast of the Holy Family with the poor



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Cardinal Rosales marks feast of the Holy Family with the poor

30 December 2007. Instead of the usual mass at the Manila Cathedral, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales today chose to join hundreds of poor Metro Manila families as the Catholic Church commemorates the feast of the Holy Family.

The first Sunday after Christmas, on the liturgical calendar, celebrates the Holy Family. Pope Leo XIII instituted this feast in 1892, encouraging societies honoring the Holy Family to be established everywhere.

Urban Poor Associates (UPA), an NGO working with the poor families, invited Cardinal Rosales to visit shanties of poor families and say Mass in a vacant lot along Osmeña Highway, next to a community along Paco Estero in Barangay 734, Manila.

“Ayon sa ebanghelyo ngayon, ang Banal na Pamilya, sina Jesus, Jose at Maria ay dumanas ng paglilipat-lipat, ng kahirapan, ng pagod, gutom, at banta sa kanilang buhay. Ito ay kahalintulad na karanasan para sa marami sa ating maralitang pamilya,” said Ted Añana, UPA deputy coordinator.

Añana recalled how a violent demolition hurt scores of residents living under the Osmeña Bridge and displaced some 54 urban poor families. “Dito mismo sa lugar na ito naganap ang matinding mga pahirap at pagsubok sa mga maralitang pamilya. Noong nakaraang Pebrero ng taong ito dumagsa dito sa lugar na ito ang halos 200 na mga demolisyon crew ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) kasama ang mga pulis at mga armadong sibilyan. Nakiusap tayo, nilabas natin ang ating mga imahen ng Santo Niño at iba pang banal na estatwa. Ngunit habang nagaganap ang isang pag-uusap sa pagitan ng ilang mga opisyales ng pamahalaan at mga lider natin biglang naganap ang demolisyon. Naging marahas ang demolisyon dahil di man lang binigyan ng panahon ang mga tao upang makapaghakot ng mga gamit.”

Facing a “cloudy” new year due to fear of massive forced evictions, various people’s organizations wrote a letter to the Cardinal asking him to arrange a meeting with the President.

“Marami sa amin na naninirahan sa mga estero at tabing riles ang nakatanggap na ng abiso na pagdating ng bagong taon, sisimulan na ang malawakang demolisyon ng aming mga tahanan. Kami po ay hindi tutol sa mga proyekto ng ating pamahalaan na may kaugnayan sa pagpapaunlad ng ating bansa. Ang aming kahilingan ay sundin ang batas ukol sa demolisyon at makataong relokasyon. Napatunayan sa mga demolisyon nitong taong ito at mga nakaraang taon na hindi po ito sinusunod ng ating pamahalaan,” the poor people told the Cardinal.

“Kaya kami po ay muling humihingi sa inyong tulong. Kung maari po sana, magpatawag po kayo ng isang pulong kay Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo na ang pag-uusapan ay ang isyu ng demolisyon at relokasyon. At kung maaari’y, mangyari ito sa buwan ng Enero,” the letter read.

Lack of adequate housing highlights a key concern for Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) this year in a Pastoral Statement. "Any person or family that, without any direct fault on his or her own, does not have suitable housing is the victim of an injustice.” -30-


Feast of Holy Family marked today with mass

Monday, December 17, 2007

MEDIA ADVISORY: CARDINAL ROSALES TO VISIT URBAN POOR COMMUNITIES AS CHURCH CELEBRATES THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY




Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY

CARDINAL ROSALES AT MGA MARALITANG TAGALUNGSOD MAGDIRIWANG NG PASKO AT BAGONG TAON

Kayo po ay taos pusong inaanyayahang dumalo sa pagdiriwang ng BANAL NA MISA NI ARSOBISPO GAUDENCIO CARDINAL ROSALES sa darating na IKA-30 NG DISYEMBRE 2007(LINGGO),10:00 NG UMAGA.

Gaganapin ito sa bakanteng lote sa Osmeña Bridge sa may Osmeña Highway, Paco District, Lungsod ng Maynila.

Date: December 30, 2007 (Sunday)

Time: 10:00 AM

Venue: Beside OSMEÑA BRIDGE along OSMEÑA HIGHWAY (South Super Highway), BARANGAY 734, PACO, MANILA

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Residents resist demolition team


MMDA criticized for banning Christmas carolers

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

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

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MMDA criticized for banning Christmas carolers

11 December 2007. For banning Christmas carolers from Metro Manila’s streets beginning on human rights day, the country may now be called the Grinch (nasty creatures that hates Christmas) capital of the world and deserves to be at the Guiness book of world records courtesy of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

While street caroling may be dangerous, the government should know and understand why poor kids have to do street caroling instead of staying in the comforts of their homes just like ordinary kids, according to a housing rights group who finds the ban ridiculous.

The Urban Poor Associates (UPA) called on MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando to immediately lift the ban and instead find out the reason why children desperately keep on caroling despite knowing their lives would be at risk due to speeding vehicles.

“We are not encouraging street carolers but these kids out of poverty may be pitching in to help feed their families and yet the government look at them as criminals. If there is a law banning Christmas carolers in this so-called only Christian nation in Asia, this is the most cruel, antisocial and Christmas-hating,” said Ted Añana, UPA deputy coordinator.

Research shows that more than 100,000 persons in Metro Manila are homeless, according to UPA. “Perhaps without man-made disasters like forced evictions and unlawful demolitions especially those being made by MMDA, there will truly be a “Metro Gwapo” where streets will be free of homeless and children doesn’t have to stop schooling and work to survive in slums.”

“They blamed poor people on floods and not the poor drainage system. After driving the poor families away from their shanties, now they are rounding them up from the streets. They have nowhere else to go. We won’t be surprised if next time they move to ban the Christmas for the poor,” Añana added.

Besides rounding up Christmas carolers, the government needs something better to do, the group said. “Corruption monitors confirm that graft and bribery in the country remain rampant. Corruption has penetrated every level of government, from the high-ranking officials down to the MMDA personnel who pull over motorists to demand bribes.”

UPA challenged the government, if it is indeed concern on the “safety of the children and the motorists”, to allocate its overflowing discretionary and intelligence funds to homeless children and the sorry state of the country's public transportation system.

UPA also reminds that Christmas caroling, aside from a holiday tradition, is more than just giving cash gifts. “The true meaning of Christmas lies in the heart of each person. It is a reminder of our childhood and an opportunity to discover kindness among strangers in this wild world.”

-30-

UPA asks MMDA: Why ban Christmas carol singers from streets in metropolis?


Urban poor group slams ban on street carol singers

Thursday, December 06, 2007

PAGKAKAISA LABAN SA KAHIRAPAN AT KAWALANG KATARUNGAN (Pahayag ng suporta ng mga maralitang tagalunsod sa mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao)

PAGKAKAISA LABAN SA KAHIRAPAN AT KAWALANG KATARUNGAN
Pahayag ng suporta ng mga maralitang tagalunsod
sa mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao

Ang Urban Poor Alliance (UP-ALL) ay isang kilusan ng mga people’s organisation at non-government organisation na naninindigan at nagsusulong ng mga karapatan ng mga maralitang tagalungsod sa pabahay at batayang serbisyo. Ito ay may malawak na hanay sa Mega Manila, Bicol, Visayas, at Mindanao.

Ang UP-ALL ay sumusuporta sa laban ng mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao hinggil sa kanilang lupang ninuno at sakahan.

Ang pag-aari ng mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao sa 144 na ektaryang lupain ay pinagtibay ng kanilang Certificate of Land Ownership Award, sa ilalim ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Sa kabila nito, sinagkaan ng panginoong maylupa na si Norberto Quisumbing ang pagkamit sa nasabing lupa ng mga benepisyaryong katutubo at magsasaka. Dahil sa ilang teknikalidad na patuloy na hinahamon ng mga katutubo at magsasaka, nagtagumpay ang mga Quisumbing na gawing agro-industrial zone ang naturang lupain.

Ngunit matapos ang limang taon, nanatiling nakatiwangwang ang lupain, isang batayan upang muling ilaan ang lupain para sa repormang agraryo. Kung ang lupaing ito ay naibigay dati pa sa mga benepisyaryong katutubo at magsasaka, malaki sana ang naitulong nito sa pagpapaunlad ng kanilang kabuhayan at pamumuhay, kabilang na ang pag-aaral ng kanilang mga anak at pag-ahon sa kahirapan.

Kaya nga hiniling ng mga katutubo at magsasaka ang pagpapawalang-bisa sa conversion order at muling ipailalim ang lupain sa CARP. Ngunit hindi pa man nagkakaroon ng resolusyon ang kanilang kaso, ibinenta ng mga Quisumbing ang lupain sa San Miguel Corporation, na kasalukuyang minamadali ang paggawa ng isang malaking babuyan. Kung magpapatuloy ang mga gawaing ito, hindi imposibleng masimot ang kasaganahan ng lupain at lalong mapagkaitan ng karapatan at oportunidad ang mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao.

Bilang isang sektor na bunga ng kahirapan sa kanayunan at paghahanap ng ikabubuhay sa lungsod at bilang isang sektor na patuloy na pinagkakaitan ng kasiguruhan sa lupa, bahay, hanap-buhay at batayang serbisyo, ang mga puwersa ng UP-ALL ay nakikiisa sa kanilang panawagan kay Ginang Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at sa Kagawaran ng Repormang Sakahan na ipawalang-bisa ang conversion order para sa 144 ektaryang lupa at ibalik ang lupaing ito sa mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao sa lalong madaling panahon.

Tanda ng pakikiisang ito, kami ay sumasama sa mapayapang paglalakbay ng mga katutubo at magsasaka ng Sumilao patungo sa kasiguruhan sa lupa, paninirahan, kabuhayan at makataong pamumuhay.

Secretariat Office:
PHILSSA
Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies, Inc.
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
Email: philssanc@pldtdsl.net, philssa_ext@pldtdsl.net

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

City Government of Naga honoured with Housing Rights Protector Award for its exceptional commitment to the human right to adequate housing

MEDIA RELEASE

City Government of Naga honoured with Housing Rights Protector Award for its exceptional commitment to the human right to adequate housing

5 December 2007. The City Government of Naga, Philippines, has been awarded the 2007 Housing Rights Protector Award for its Kaantabay sa Kauswagan (Partners in Development) Programme, an initiative providing security of tenure and improved living conditions for thousands of its residents.

The Housing Rights Protector Award is presented annually by the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) to a government or other institution demonstrating an exceptional commitment to the protection and fulfilment of housing rights.

“COHRE commends the City Government of Naga for assisting over 6,000 families to obtain legal title to their land, thereby safeguarding them from the threat of forced eviction, and for improving the living conditions of 27 urban poor communities by providing and upgrading infrastructure,” said Jean du Plessis, COHRE’s Deputy Director. Du Plessis added, “COHRE is honoured to present the City Government of Naga with the 2007 Housing Rights Protector Award for its Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Programme, which clearly demonstrates that the human right to adequate housing can indeed be made a reality if the political will exists.”

Naga City, with a population of around 140,000, is centrally located in Bicol, a region comprising the southernmost portion of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Naga City was grappling with serious urban housing problems in the late 1980s with 25 percent of its population living as squatters or in slums. Most of the urban poor living in slums in Naga City did not have legal title to their land. Residents of these informal settlements lacked basic services such as access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, because previous local governments in Naga City ignored their responsibilities to provide basic infrastructure in these areas, due to their informal status.

The Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Programme’s mandate includes: providing low-cost homelots for urban poor residents; facilitating the transfer of land ownership from government and private owners to those who are currently occupying the land; providing legal assistance and support for the titling or regularisation of informal land allotments; and improving living conditions in informal land allotments through the provision of basic amenities such as clean drinking water, adequate sanitation facilities and other essential services to residents.

A total of 30 on-site and off-site development projects under the programme have assisted 6,046 households (20 percent of Naga City’s population) to obtain legal title, thereby providing them with security of tenure. Negotiations are ongoing to provide another 2,717 households (nine percent of Naga City’s population) with security of tenure in the near future. The Programme has also assisted more than 27 urban poor communities in Naga City to obtain better living conditions through the provision of basic services and infrastructure improvement.

COHRE’s Du Plessis, said, “The Naga City Government’s consultation with civil society and urban poor associations in the development and implementation of housing policies has produced effective remedies for thousands of inadequately housed people. The Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Programme’s success in implementing housing and poverty alleviation policies, anchored in the understanding that the participation of the urban poor is vital to sustainable development, is commendable.”

Du Plessis added, “COHRE praises the proactive initiatives undertaken by the City Government of Naga to effectively guarantee the protection and progressive realisation of the human right to adequate housing. Its efforts provide a powerful example that governments can implement practical policies to realise housing rights and that these are integral to fighting poverty.”

The 2007 Housing Rights Protector Award will be presented by COHRE to the Mayor of the Naga City Government, Jesse Robredo, at a ceremony in Geneva today.


COHRE 2007 Housing Rights Protector Award
Municipal Government of Naga City, Philippines

COHRE’s Housing Rights Protector Award is presented annually to a government or other institution demonstrating an exceptional commitment to the protection and fulfilment of housing rights. The Protector Award demonstrates that the human right to adequate housing can indeed be made a reality, if the political will exists.

The City Government of Naga, Philippines, has been selected as the 2007 Housing Rights Protector Award winner for its Kaantabay sa Kauswagan (Partners in Development) Programme, which is administered by its department, the Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO). This unique programme, which was established in 1989 under the leadership of Mayor Jesse Robriedo, aims to provide security of tenure to urban poor communities living on informal land allotments in Naga City, and to improve their living conditions through slum upgrading.

Naga City, with a population of around 140,000, is centrally located in Bicol, a region comprising the southernmost portion of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Naga City was grappling with serious urban housing problems in the late 1980s with 25 percent of its population living as squatters or in slums. Today, it has developed a reputation for being a centre for innovations in local governance. The Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Programme facilitated by the UPAO of the Naga City Government is a successful housing and poverty alleviation programme anchored in the understanding that the participation of the urban poor is vital to sustainable development.

The Programme has been successful in devising effective strategies to cushion the negative impacts of urbanisation. These strategies include various modes of land acquisition, such as direct purchase, land swapping, land sharing, community mortgage, and resettlement; creating a separate section in the lending arm of the local government to specifically cater to the needs of the urban poor; and developing a financing scheme anchored on internally-generated resources of the beneficiaries.

The Programme’s mandate includes: providing low-cost homelots for urban poor residents; facilitating transfer of land ownership from government and private owners to those who are currently occupying the land; providing legal assistance and support for the titling or regularisation of informal land allotments; and improving living conditions in informal land allotments through the provision of basic amenities such as clean drinking water, adequate sanitation facilities and other essential services to residents.

A total of 30 on-site and off-site development projects under the programme have assisted 6,046 households (20 percent of Naga City’s population) to obtain legal title, thereby providing them with security of tenure. Negotiations are ongoing to provide another 2,717 households (nine percent of of Naga City’s population) with security of tenure in the near future. The Programme has also assisted more than 27 urban poor communities in Naga City to obtain better living conditions through the provision of basic services and infrastructure improvement.

The Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Programme has been successful in institutionalising a tripartite mechanism that effectively brings together a) government agencies, b) urban poor associations and their allied NGOs, and c) private land owners to solve standing tenurial problems with finality.

The success of the Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Programme is anchored on the following strategies:

· The adoption of a “partner-beneficiary” perspective in dealing with clients - This approach sees the urban poor as both programme partner and beneficiary, compelling them to actively participate in every step of problem resolution.

· Role definition and specialisation – This is the recognition that NGOs have more expertise than governments in certain areas of community development. Thus, the Naga City Government relies on its NGO partner, the Community Organisation of the Philippines Enterprise (COPE) Foundation, to assist in community organising and the preparation of beneficiaries.

· A policy of dealing only with urban poor organisations and not individuals - This compels urban poor residents to take the initiative to organise themselves, thereby facilitating community organising.

· Strategy of focus – To maximize scarce resources, the Programme focuses exclusively on the urban poor sector in Naga City. The urban poor are identified on the basis of a single criterion; the lack of security of tenure. ###

For interviews with Jean du Plessis or additional information please contact COHRE’s Media Officer, Radhika Satkunanathan on +41-22-7341028, +61-400-899474 or media@cohre.org