Saturday, June 14, 2008

Several houses in QC to be demolished over land row

06/13/2008 | 12:39 PM

Residents voluntarily demolish shanties in QC
06/13/2008 | 11:15 AM

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Muslims in Baclaran, Groups Resist Forced Eviction


Muslims in Baclaran, Groups Resist Forced Eviction

12 June 2008. Muslims have warned the government against the demolition of their mosque situated at a reclamation site in Baclaran and said that forced eviction of some 300 families would be the bloodiest in Philippine history.

Tension gripped the Muslim community Wednesday after a government demolition team tried to approach the residents who are willing to fight to their death opposing forced eviction and the demolition of their shanties.

Armed with sticks and stones, angry residents blocked some 200 crewmen while some 30 Special Weapons and Action Team (SWAT) secure the area.

As early as 7 am, police were already in the area, according to Abdelmanan Tanandato. Tanandato, a local leader, said the demolition team is using a writ of execution issued by Fortunito Madrona, Presiding Judge of the ParaƱaque City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 274.

By 9 am, the demolition team started to move in the Muslim community but they later backed off due to the fierce offensive movement of residents. Chanting “Alah Wakbar” (Alah is great), residents had vowed to protect the mosque.

To prevent serious untoward incidents, Muslim leaders held a dialogue with Jeffrey Sales, the RTC sheriff. Sales agreed to give the residents more time to get a legal remedy like temporary restraining order (TRO).

During a public hearing at the Senate last Tuesday, Tanandato asked Senator Noynoy Aquino to intervene on behalf of the Muslim families. Senator Aquino said he would call Andrea Domingo, General Manager of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to halt the demolition and arrange a dialogue.

Senator Aquino had recently filed Senate Resolution No. 402 directing the committee on local government to investigate in aid of legislation, the implementation of Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992. This is principally on the mandate of local government units to conduct inventory of all lands within their respective localities and identify sites for socialized housing and resettlement areas.

After 15 years UDHA has failed to provide for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program due to terrible implementation, according to Urban Poor Associates (UPA), a housing rights NGO. “Thousands of families are literally evicted and left in the streets without relocation. Of the 2,781 families evicted this year in Metro Manila, excluding railroad evictions, only 9% received relocation.”

In an oral statement about the Philippine’s Universal Periodic Review which the government submitted to the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) drew attention to the continuing prevalence of forced evictions. In a session held in Geneva, Switzerland, COHRE said the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in particular evicted over 2,000 families last year, without resettlement benefits in over 90% of the cases.

COHRE will also raise to the Human Rights Council the issue of forced eviction of Muslims in Baclaran and write a letter of concern to the Philippine government. -30-

Monday, June 09, 2008

MMDA goes after illegal vendors in Quezon City

06/09/2008 | 07:41 PM

Saksi: Mga ambulant vendor sa paligid ng ilang eskwelahan sa Metro Manila, tinarget ng MMDA
06/09/2008 | 11:43 PM

Monday, June 02, 2008

190-Hectare Reclamation Project Raises Fears Among Baseco Residents


02 June 2008. Mail brigades have been launched for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to see the fear some 10,000 families have of being evicted because of the government’s plan to move them from the land proclaimed for them at the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company (Baseco) Compound at the Port Area in Manila.

Baseco residents have filed to MalacaƱang everyday since May 13 to bring the letters the people are writing everyday to the president appealing for help.

On May 13 President Arroyo led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Baseco Reclamation Expansion Project. Phase 1 of the reclamation project is a 10-hectare reclamation project, costing P252 million, to be a socialized housing project for 3,000 families. The reclamation project to be undertaken by Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) is located outside the existing 56-hectare Baseco compound that was proclaimed for the 6,000-8,000 resident families in 2002.

The Master plan shows that Phase 2 of the reclamation project, making a total area of 180.14 hectares, includes an oil depot area, dumping ground, anchorage area, buffer zone/inland channel and 135-hectares of saleable lots.

In the letters, the residents thank President Arroyo for having proclaimed Baseco as a socialized housing, but say that up to now no documents have been issued pertaining to the land titles in the reclamation that guarantee security of tenure.

The government says it will reclaim the 10 hectares as proposed and move families there from the 56 hectares. The government will then develop 35 hectares of the 56 hectares proclaimed for commercial purposes.

Urban Poor Associates (UPA), in a press statement, noted that the residents are afraid of the reclamation project due to the following points:

- There are plans for 3,000 families. What will happen to all the other families?

- It is not clear who the beneficiaries are. Will it be only families censused in 2001? What of the other thousands of families living there now? (The City of Manila had conducted a survey in 2001 with 6,000 families.)

- Will the 3,000 units be affordable?

- Will the 2,000 houses of Gawad Kalinga and Habitat for Humanity built a short time ago with private donations of P60 million remain or will they be removed?

- Who is the main stakeholder in this huge venture? Where will financing come from?

- Does the fact that the land is proclaimed limit what uses can be made of it? If it was proclaimed for homes, can it be used for commerce?

According to UPA, a housing rights NGO, the Land Proclamation program of the government, 2001-2004 set aside government lands for the homes of the poor. Some 200,000 families lived on these lands and benefited. However, there have been few proclamations after the 2004 presidential elections. Some of the proclamations are being amended or radically changed; and finally, there has been no follow-up upgrading and titling program in these areas which means the fear of forced eviction is ever present. ###

Manila's informal settlers wary about reclamation project