Wednesday, January 17, 2007

TRO sought against MMDA, DPWH to stop eviction

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TRO sought against MMDA, DPWH to stop eviction

17 January 2007, Manila. Fighting for their right to put roofs over their heads, informal settlers are seeking a temporary restraining order against Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Dir. Josefino Rigor of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to prevent their eviction and the demolition of their houses located under San Andres Bridge 1 along South Super Highway, Paco, Manila.

The settlers composed of 54 families who live for more than 14 years at the community located along Estero Tripa de Gallina, a jurisdiction of Brgy. 734 and Brgy 735, filed their petition for a TRO and preliminary injunction January 12 at the Manila Regional Trial Court.

Based on a raffle held last Monday, the presiding judge who would handle the case is Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag of RTC Branch 1, according to the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) in a statement.

Led by Alberta Abenaza, president of Samahan ng mga Taga Ilalim ng Tulay Neighborhood Association (SAINT), ten petitioners have executed their sworn statements that beginning in October 2006 MMDA and DPWH threatened and continue to threaten to demolish their homes without offering relocation sites.

“Ang aming pamilya ay nangangamba na baka sa anumang oras ay sapilitan kaming paalisin sa aming tinitirhan. Mahigit anim na taon na naming nilalakad ang ibat-ibang ahensya ng ating pamahalaan para mabigyan na kami ng relokasyon subalit wala kaming nakuha kundi puro pangakong walang kasagutan. Hirap na hirap na po kami. Nawawalan na po kami ng pag-asa,” said Abenaza.

Through petitioner’s representations with its officials, MMDA has deferred its plan to evict plaintiffs but with a promise and assurance that it will pursue its plan to demolish and evict the plaintiffs pursuant to its beautification program “Metro Gwapo”.

DPWH, on the other hand, without any written notice and dialogue with the petitioners, has verbally informed the residents that it will demolish the petitioner’s houses due to the repair of the bridge.

“Respondents intended action to demolish and evict the petitioners without consultation and more importantly, without any provision for adequate relocation as mandated by the Constitution and Republic Act 7279 also known as Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) is gross violation of the law and it runs afoul with the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),” said Atty. Bienvenido A. Salinas 2nd, coordinator of UPA’s legal unit, St. Thomas More Law Center.

UPA is a non-government organization established to educate families in housing rights matters and assist communities in eviction crises. It has helped thousands of families to relocate in-city or at least prevent the never-ending cycle of homelessness. -30-

For interviews with Urban Poor Associates (UPA) or additional information please contact UPA’s Media Advocacy Officer, John Lagman on (632) 4264118

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