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Is the President Lying?
12 August 2009. Urban poor leaders said, “The President is lying. The 300 million pesos she promised to us last August 1, 2008 for the development of relocation site in Montalban for thousands of urban poor families affected by demolitions and forced evictions does not exist.”
The urban poor leaders who headed the big protest rally yesterday morning at the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) had a confrontation with Usec. Lucille Ortille, the Secretary General of HUDCC at 2 pm in her office.
The leaders asked her where was the 300 million promised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
According to Usec. Ortille, there was no budget yet for the relocation site in Montalban because the 300 million is not stipulated in the Executive Order 803.
Executive Order No. 803 or the Metro Manila Inter-Agency Committee (MMIAC) is a comprehensive shelter program for informal settlers affected by the government’s infrastructure projects and those living in dangerous areas.
In that EO it says: “ The MMDA is hereby directed to set up a trust fund, wherein funds sourced from the office of the President, National Government Agencies, LGUs..(will be held).”
In short, there is no trust fund yet.
“We wasted a year waiting for the 300 million to be released,” said Prescilda Juanich, leader of SAPIPA R-10 Navotas City. “I remember in the meeting with the president August 1 last year she gave directives to government agencies to relocate in Montalban the 1400 families from the 11 priority areas evicted by the MMDA. I adore her so much. But now, I have lost all my respect to her,” she added.
“MMDA destroyed our houses without hesitation and now we are living in the streets. Our only hope was the promise of the president that we will be relocated. But we were dismayed that it was just a big lie,” said Rosalinda Saturno, leader of Samahang Nayon ng Balintawak QC.
Task Force Anti-Eviction (TFAE), composed of various people’s organizations and NGOs such as Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), and Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprise(COPE)Foundation, thinks that the President promised the 300 million to pacify the urban poor complaints and soften resistance against demolitions and force evictions.
Jun Alferez, representative of (TFAE) who was in the confrontation said, “The president will expect the urban poor to mobilize in a bigger number to get the 300 million she promised for the housing of thousand families.”