Wednesday, April 5, 2006



For Immediate Release
April 5, 2006


Some 166 railway families were forcibly evicted by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC) yesterday in Barangays San Antonio, Magallanes and Pio del Pilar in Makati City. Hundreds of demolition crews escorted by policemen implemented the demolition activity.

The affected families expressed dismay that the NHA led by General Manager Federico Laxa who attended the dialogue with Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales at the Cardinal’s residence on March 6, 2006 totally ignored the Cardinal’s appeal that all poor families to be evicted by the government’s railroad project would be given relocation and that the resettlement site should be equipped with basic services and livelihood opportunities before people are transferred there.

"Nabalewala ang dialogue na yon. Katulad namin, si Cardinal pala ay hindi pinakikinggan ng pamahalaan. Ang pagkakaiba lang ay medyo magalang sila kung magsalita, pero ganun din," (The dialogue was useless. Like us, the Cardinal was not listened to by the government. The difference was that they appeared to be respectful when talking to the Cardinal, but the result is the same) commented Estrella Terencio, a resident of Pio del Pilar.

Of the 166 families only 40 families will receive relocation in Cabuyao. The others are described as appealants because they have to complete their documentary requirements.

"As in other areas, after making them waits they will probably not receive relocation from the government," said the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), a non-government organization.

Fourty three year old Lilia Escarlan of Block 44, Lot 30 of the Southville Housing Project in Cabuyao Laguna said many relocatees have abandoned their houses to go back in Makati City because of the poor condition of the relocation site and the lack of livelihood opportunities there. "Ang problema namin wala kaming hanapbuhay sa Cabuyao kaya nagtitiis kami sa kariton. Kahit wala kaming bahay dito basta mayron lang kaming makain," (Our problem is that we have no livelihood in Cabuyao that is why we are willing to live in our cart. Even if we do not have a house here, what matter is we have something to eat).

Lilia and her husband Adriano are now collecting garbage materials along the streets of Makati City to earn at least P100 a day. The Escarlan family and many other displaced railway families along the railway tracks have chosen to sleep on their carts, under the bridges and along the streets than to live in their newly built houses at the relocation site. "Yung paglikas sa amin, di ko kagustuhan dahil para kaming basurang itinapon doon. Hindi namin kasalanan na umuwi kami ulit dito. Sa Cabuyao maganda yung aking bahay pero gutom kami," (Our relocation is not to my liking because we were thrown there like garbage. It is not our fault that we came back to this place. In Cabuyao my house is nice but we were hungry.) Escarlan told the UPA media. -30-

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