Monday, May 7, 2007

UP residents stage protest action against demolition

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UP residents stage protest action against demolition
8 May 2007. Residents of villages inside the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City held a protest rally this morning to oppose the UP administration’s move to rid the campus of informal settlers.
The Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Maralita (NALAMA), a peoples organization from 20 barangays within the University, led the protest action at the Oblation in front of the UP Administration Building.
Residents were protesting the impending demolition that they said would eventually dislocate 25,000 urban poor families. Some residents said they have been in the area since 1970s.
Houses of at least 9 families in C.P. Garcia are set to be demolished this month tagging it as a tactic of UP at removing all informal settlers in the campus.
According to Urban Poor Associates (UPA), beginning in 2001 the people had negotiated with UP and Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and had arrived at a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that needed only the concurrence of UP’s Board of Regents.
“It seemed a win-win solution for all parties: the people would get land tenure security and eventual upgrading; the university would get easy access to all the land needed for education purposes and the people’s assistance in limiting the entry of additional poor families; the city would get 25,000 families settled at very little cost. Land security would be long-term leases. The mayor would supply infrastructure – light, roads, drainage etc.,” the UPA said in a statement.
But before the Regents could vote, a change was made in the university’s administration. The new administration issued a series of policy papers that outlined a 180% turn in their mode of relationships with the urban poor, whom they described as enemies of UP.
The papers said the university would no longer negotiate with the poor and would hire more guards and evict rather than negotiate a solution to urban poor problems. The university’s new officials refused to meet with the poor for meaningful discussions.
What the administration proposes are: that demolitions be accepted, if not supported, by the academic community as a politically correct option; that UP will rule out relocation, on site development and other negotiating stances that alienate land and violate the UP Charter.
The UP administration has invoked its exemption from the coverage of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) which requires government to relocate families it evicts.
The House of Representatives legal office led by Parañaque City Congressman Eduardo Zialcita has said UP is not exempt. “While it may be true that UP lands are exempt from the operation of UDHA (RA 7279) with respect to the eviction of informal settlers, the university is not however exempt from the constitutional requirements of prior consultation with those who will be affected by the demolition and consequent resettlement and the just and humane manner of effecting the same under Section 10, Art. XIII of our fundamental law.” -30-

Urban poor set to march to Mendiola





Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY


Urban poor set to march to Mendiola


Urban poor families in Metro Manila are set to march to Mendiola on Wednesday (May 9, 2007) beginning 9:00 in the morning to urge President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to meet with them.
The people have sent various letters to President Arroyo endorsed by His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales asking for a meeting but to no avail.
Representatives of the urban poor groups want to hold a dialogue with Mrs. Arroyo to make her aware of their problems.
Hundreds of families, for example, are now living in the streets after their houses built along esteros in Paco, Manila were demolished by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). There was no relocation.
Evicting poor families without adequate relocation violates not only the Constitution but also the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) and the United Nations covenants.
Thousands of families living along the railroad tracks in Manila, Caloocan and Taguig wants the demolition of their houses stopped until the government considers in-city / near-city relocation sites as alternatives to its distant relocation sites (Cabuyao / Towerville / Trece Martirez) where life is extremely hard. They want the National Housing Authority (NHA) to hand over the funds it holds to Mayor Sigfrido Tiñga of Taguig and Mayor Pedro Cuerpo of Montalban who have agreed to accept the families and let them do the relocation work.
Urban poor communities in Navotas that were burnt out by fires were told they cannot return to the area. This effectively puts them in the streets, and again violates the law.
The people will gather at 8:00 AM onwards. We hope the police will permit the march. The presence of media will help ensure calm.

Date: May 9, 2007 (Wednesday)
Time: 9:00 AM
Assembly Point: San Sebastian Church, Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila

UP residents to stage protest action against demolition






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Attention: News Editor, News Desk, Reporters and Photojournalists

MEDIA ADVISORY

UP residents to stage protest action against demolition
The Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Maralita (NALAMA) requests your presence at a protest action tomorrow (Tuesday / May 8, 2007) beginning 9:00 in the morning at the Oblation in front of the Administration Building, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
Residents of villages located inside the University will hold a protest rally to oppose the UP administration’s move to rid the campus of informal settlers.
The UP administration has invoked its exemption from the coverage of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) which requires government to relocate families it evicts. The House of Representatives legal office has said UP is not exempt.
NALAMA is a peoples organization from 20 Barangays within UP Diliman Campus.

Date: May 8, 2007 (Tuesday)
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 NN
Venue: Oblation, Administration Building, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
 

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