Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Urban Poor Stages Rally to Support CHR De Lima and Call for Moratorium on Evictions

02 September 2008

Urban Poor Stages Rally to Support CHR De Lima and Call for Moratorium on Evictions

Some 500 urban poor people staged a demonstration rally this morning from the National Housing Authority in Quezon Circle to the Commission on Human Rights compound in Diliman to show their support for its current Chairperson Leila de Lima’s fight against human rights violations by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in its clearing operations of sidewalk vendors and informal settlers and to jointly call for a moratorium on evictions.

The group, the Task Force Anti-Eviction, an alliance of urban poor in Metro Manila, depicted MMDA’s Chairman Bayani “BF” Fernando as “Satan”, a person masked with BF face complete with “devil’s horn and tail” in a fight with the “Angel” Saint Michael, represented by a woman with the face of CHR Chairwoman Leila de Lima. The group spokesperson, Presilda Juanich of Navotas, praised De Lima and assailed Chairman Fernando. “Chairwoman Leila de Lima is an angel sent from heaven for us, the urban poor, in her courageous stand against human rights violations, while BF, the undisputed “berdugo ng maralita” is Satan personified”, she said.

The Commission on Human Rights is currently investigating the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in its conduct in evicting poor families from their dwellings due to complains from various urban poor organizations in Metro Manila. The Task Force Anti-Eviction stated that they documented and submitted to the CHR eight cases of violent demolitions conducted by the MMDA, in R-10 Navotas, Manila Estero, Pasay Estero, Quirino Bridge in South Super-Highway, Quaipo, Balintawak Market, Tatalon Quezon City, and Pasig City that affected more than 2,000 families. Majority of the evicted families are still living literally on the streets as no relocation was provided.

The government is set to demolish more than 300,000 families in Metro Manila because of its infrastructure projects and the Metro Gwapo project of the MMDA. From this, more than 70,000 families are living along the esteros whose majority is in Quezon City, Manila and Pasay City set to be cleared by the MMDA without the capacity to provide relocation.

Aside from the call for a moratorium to demolition, the Task Force Anti-Eviction in a Manifesto, presented to Chairwoman Leila de Lima a 10 point agenda that ask for the strict compliance of the procedures in eviction as stated by law, put a stop on treating informal settlers as “nuisance”, and for the Commission to require government officials to undergo seminars on human rights, among others. The group is also calling for the amendment of the Urban Development and Housing Act to strengthen the law against “callous” officials like Bayani Fernando.

Task Force Anti-Eviction
c/o COPE-COM-UPA 27 Ignacio Diaz St. Cubao, Quezon City
Contact: Soti Sabarre 09103916128 / 723-74-20

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