Press Release | City Settlers Defend Homes from Demolition; 1 Detained, Many injured
PRESS RELEASE | April, 28, 2011
Calamba City- Hundreds of residents were left homeless, scores were hurt, and a minor was detained after the illegal and violent demolition of houses yesterday in Brgy. Parian, Calamba City. Instigated by the city government of Calamba and the local PNP operatives, the demolition was pursued despite the restraining order from the DILG and declaration of holiday yesterday in the city (attributing to the fiesta celebration).
Some 750 families were reportedly living in the prime residential area along the national highway, which was the subject of the claim of ownership of the Lazaros, the family of former Laguna governor Teresita ‘Ningning’ Lazaro and other private claimants.
The residents however, in defense of their right to abode, secured their homes against the demolition team led by some 100 operatives of the Philippine National Police in dispersal gears.
According to Alex Balayan, spokesperson of the local chapter of the urban poor alliance, Kalipunan ng Damayang ng Mahihirap (KADAMAY), said that although not all houses were demolished, many houses were destroyed in the demolition, which started just before noon and continued in the afternoon.
Tension erupted when the policemen, armed with M-16 riffles, attempted to enter the ranks of protesters and residents who were peacefully conducting a program. Some police were even seen to have cocked their guns.
Glen Malabanan, Secretary General of KARAPATAN-ST, chided the illegal eviction as a blatant violation to the rights of the residents. “The residents were not only robbed off their right to decent homes, they were also physically assaulted by the PNP,” she said. Malabanan was referring to those residents who were injured and the illegal arrest of a minor during the incident. The 17 year old-resident is still detained as of press time.
Malabanan added, “this is illegal and arbitrary as the demolition was scheduled on a holiday so residents cannot avail of legal remedies”.
BAYAN-Southern Tagalog spokesman Andrianne Mark Ng meanwhile slammed the city government led by Mayor Joaquin Chipeco for its failure to defend its constituents against demolition and became instrumental in this anti-poor and anti-people policy in Calamba City. He also cited the recent demolition of hundreds of residents in Sitio Banana last March.
“This is no doubt another ploy of Mayor Chipeco to make Calamba the economic center of Laguna by accommodating businesses and investors. In effect, this means massive land conversion and displacement of people in the city,” he said.
“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,” Ng ended.
Later in the afternoon, hundreds of residents, together with other sectoral groups trooped to the houses of Governor Lazaro’s and Mayor Chipeco to hold an indignation rally and condemn the demolition try. ###