NHA, DILG urged to end demolition in Laguna-Cavite
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan- Southern Tagalog
October 14, 2010
Benjamin dela Cruz | Regional Staff, Bayan Muna-Southern Tagalog
Andrianne Mark Ng | Spokesperson, BAYAN–Southern Tagalog
Urban poor residents staged a picket dialogue at the National Housing Authority (NHA) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) today for the apparent loss of government service and dismal conditions in Laguna and Cavite relocation sites.
Led by the Alliance of Relocatees from Laguna, Cavite and Metro Manila (REFLACAMMA), and Bayan Muna Southern Tagalog, residents of Southville 7, Calauan, Laguna and Dasmariñas Bagong Bayan Relocation Site filed a petition to said government agencies to demand for basic services that the government is mandated to provide.
Residents from Southville urged the provision of basic social services in the area such as water, electricity, sewage system, medical service, basic education and livelihood.
“We have seen the unjust treatment and inhumane condition in the relocation site where people easily get sick due to lack of water source and proper sewage system. The local NHA also is inconsiderate in evicting those who cannot afford to pay. This is despite the fact that 90% of the residents in Southville do not have a source of income and livelihood.” Helen Ambito of REFLACAMMA said.
At present, around 10,000 families live in the Southville relocation site. The residents mostly are families who were forcibly exiled from Manila and Cavite. Last year, the population in the community grew after evacuees from typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng were permanently resettled in the area.
The residents already staged three dialogues with the local NHA office and yet no significant improvement has happened in the relocation site. The residents also condemn the continued urban militarization in the area, saying the military are obviously present to instill fear and prevent them from airing their grievances. Ambito note that the experience of the relocatees in Southville 7 is similar to other Southville phases in Cavite and Mindoro.
Meanwhile, vendors from KADIWA market in Dasmariñas, Cavite protested the demolition of the area in an agreement signed by the local government and the SM Prime Holdings Inc. On October 2009, Federic Laxa, Gen. Manager of NHA donated to the Dasmariñas local government the land where the KADIWA market was situated. But on February 2010, Mayor Jenny Barzaga immediately signed a deal between the SM Corporation through Hans Sy putting 1,500 vendors and 500 families at risk in losing their livelihood and homes.
Benjamin dela Cruz, Bayan Muna Southern Tagalog regional staff, slammed the Aquino government for the continued neglect on urban poor communities in relocation sites. “The lack of budget for social services such as education and health trickle down to the poorest of the poor and now we see them struggling to survive. The Aquino government sees solutions similar to the Arroyo regime: eviction and demolition,” dela Cruz said.
In the Southern Tagalog region, more than 100,000 families are at risk of being evicted because of continued projects under the CALABARZON project– an ambitious program supposedly aimed at urbanizing the region. This includes the construction of establishments by private corporations such as Henry Sy’s SM; road widening; and systematic land use conversions.
In the afternoon, the protesters trooped to Mendiola to denounce the continued neglect of the government for the poor. More demolitions are set in Southern Tagalog such as the R1 Coastal Road Widening Project in Bacoor, Cavite due to the Manila-Bicol route of the Philippine National Railroad modernization where 100,000 families are to be affected. Communities in San Pedro to Los Baños are already being demolished.
“With Aquino’s public-private partnerships, we expect the situation of the urban and rural poor communities to only worsen. It is clear that Aquino want to demolish the poor to pave the way for his Daang Matuwid,” dela Cruz ended. ###