Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Of forced evictions and demolitions

Manila, Navotas residents seek TRO vs MMDA demolition

MANILA, Philippines -- Residents along the railroad tracks in Manila and Navotas Cities have asked the Supreme Court to stop the government’s demolition of their homes.

In the petition for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, the residents urged the high court to prohibit the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine National Railways (PNR), and National Housing Authority (NHA) from evicting them.

Some 66,000 families have been affected since the government started demolishing homes to pave the way for the implementation of the Northrail, Southrail Linkage Projects in Manila and the Road Widening Project in Navotas, according to reports.

"These looming threats of eviction and demolition despite non-compliance with what are required by no less the Constitution and UDHA [Urban Development Housing Authority] -- e.g. prior notice/s adequate relocation and consultation, which [are] continuously being undertaken by government agencies, inflict gross injustice on the urban poor community. The effect and impact of massive displacements of affected families, including women and children, cannot be denied," said lawyer Bienvenido Salinas Jr. of the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), legal counsel for the residents for Sampaloc, Sta. Cruz and Tondo, Manila and Radial Road 10(R-10), North Bay Boulevard in Navotas….
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The informal settlers have no right to settle in someone else’s property. But the forced evictions are inhumane and do not even comply with the legal provisions. But the squatters trample on property and cause aesthetic and environmental damage. But helpless women and children are involved, evicted and scattered like animals. But it’s their fault in the first place…we could go on and on about the pros and cons of forced evictions and demolitions. One thing we know for sure when things like this happens is that there is always someone who suffers the most. It is that someone who said – “when I was hungry you gave me food, ..I was a stranger and you took me in…and whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me...”

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