Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NGOs nix Inter-Agency Committee headed by MMDA, BF


NGOs nix Inter-Agency Committee headed by MMDA, BF

13 August 2008. Urban poor non-government organizations have expressed opposition to a proposed Executive Order that will set guidelines on the work of the Metro Manila Inter-Agency Committee (MMIAC) in the fields of eviction and relocation.

Their opposition is to the presence and leadership of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and its Chairman Bayani Fernando in the MMIAC.

“The MMDA history in dealing with the urban poor renders it unfit to lead or head the MMIAC as provided by the Executive Order. We see no reason why MMDA itself should be a member of this MMIAC,” the Task Force Anti-Eviction said in a statement.

Among those who expressed grievances were NGOs such as Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), Community Organization of the Philippines Enterprise (COPE), St. Thomas More Law Center, John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI), Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN) and Partnership of Philippine Support Agency (PHILSSA).

Urban poor people often term Bayani Fernando (BF) as “berdugo” of the urban poor, the statement said. He has merited this title because, “he uses force and intimidation in dealing with the urban poor. He treats the poor as garbage, nuisances and eye sores, and evicts them summarily with total disregard for their rights in the most inhumane manner and contrary to the provisions of the law.”

At a forum dubbed “Human Rights and Access to Justice For the Poor” held in Ateneo last August 4, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Leila de Lima mentioned several instances where the MMDA demolished the homes and houses of the urban poor without due notice and without providing for relocation.

“In 2008 alone, from January to May, there have been 25 reported cases of demolitions, eight of which require our quick response team to investigate. Out of the eight quick reaction team investigations, four cases involved the MMDA. In two cases involving MMDA, there was a finding of human rights violations,” CHR Chairperson de Lima said.

As an alternative to BF and the MMDA, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) – National Housing Authority (NHA) should be named as the lead agency of the MMIAC, according to the Task Force Anti-Eviction.

“There are at present 2,140 families who have been evicted, but have not been relocated. They lived in 14 areas. They live now in makeshift huts in the streets along the banks of canals and in other unfit places. The first order of business should be to relocate them,” said Ted Añana, deputy coordinator of UPA. Añana was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the permanent representative of urban poor sector in the MMIAC. -30-

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