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Thursday, September 8, 2011
QC residents, groups rally against demolition
MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Sitio San Rafael in Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City, whose homes were demolished on August 31, together with various groups held a rally on Saturday to protest against the demolition of some 300 houses.
The groups, including Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan-Quezon City (Makabayan-QC), Bayan Muna Party-List-QC, Gabriela-QC and Kabataan Party-List –QC, convened along Commonwealth Avenue to show their support for the residents.
Affected residents and the groups held noise barrage and candle lighting activities after residents of the one-hectare property in Old Balara lost their homes.
In a press statement, the protesters expressed dismay because the government did not secure a relocation site for the residents.
“Pushing our poor people away from their homes and communities while leaving them with nothing and with nowhere to go can be considered as a gross violation of their basic rights to live and have decent life,” said. Vilma Gabunada, Public Information Officer of Gabriela-QC.
The groups urged President Benigno Aquino III to take action on what they felt as an “illegal” demolition of homes belonging to the urban poor community.
“The continuing silence of PNoy on issues of urban poor sets bad precedent to communities nationwide who are facing threats of demolition. The President himself must be the first to defend the welfare of his constituents against all forms of attacks, dislocation and destruction. On the contrary, since his first day in office, almost 6,000 families all over the country already lost their homes due to demolitions,” Gabunada said.
“If President Aquino will remain heedless to the clamor of poor Filipinos for shelter and other basic social services, then he is only proving that his bosses are not the majority of our population rather the few and elite classes. If this will continue, then he must start to count his days in the sit of power,” she added.
The groups also called on Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista to address concerns of “massive dislocation, displacement and homelessness despite implementation of the said demolition while not offering relocation for [the residents].”
Authorities, meanwhile, have denied that they failed to give the residents notice of the demolition.
They said the residents were given a week to prepare.
The property's owners gave at least 300 demolished residents of Old Balara P24,000 each