SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Karapatan today condemned the actions of the local Makati City government in the destruction of the homes of Guatemala St. residents in Barangay San Isidro. More than half of the residents, whose livelihoods come from the neighborhood they live in, are being targeted for relocation and are having their homes destroyed with the support of the Philippine National Police and the local government:
Human rights group Karapatan today slammed the forced eviction and violent demolition of homes of some 256 families at Guatemala Street, Brgy. San Isidro in Makati City, as they called on Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr. and the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to immediately stop such operations in the area, including the arrests of residents who participated in the protests yesterday.
Based on the initial report of Karapatan-National Capital Region, eight individuals were arrested, after the residents barricaded the entrances to their community to prevent the local government’s demolition teams and the police from demolishing their homes. The said eviction was conducted to pave the way for the construction of a multi-million peso community complex and basketball court in the area.
The Guatemala Neighborhood Association officials said they refused to transfer to the relocation site in Calauan, Laguna because there were no houses constructed, and there are no water and electricity facilities in the area, aside from the lack of sources of livelihood.
Palabay said these acts constitute violations of international human rights standards on decent and adequate housing and the International Convention on economic and socio-cultural rights. “Oftentimes, the urban poor settlers are blamed for occupying empty lots and estero, and for the violence that erupts during demolition. But for once, we ask the government to look at things from the point of view of the poor, homeless families who are forced to stay in cramped areas, under the bridge, along breakwater because these are the only places available to them; these are the only places near their sources of livelihood.”
Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) an urban poor organization which fights for the rights, welfare, and dignity of urban poor communities and peoples, issued this statement on the recent demolitions:
The violent demolition of homes in Guatemala, Makati only shows the brutality of the Aquino regime against the urban pooor. He never fails to be the ‘butcher of the urban poor’ for his demolition rampage in our communities. The sector has already lost ten lives in this demolition rampage under Aquino, while thousands of families have been homeless, and ditched to far-flung relocation sites where they fight hard for survival.
President Aquino is incognizant of the real plight of the jobless millions of urban poor in the country who lack a regular employment to afford at least a decent space in the city and they squat. He doesn’t deserve any respect from the sector and the Filipino as his administration doesn’t respect our basic human rights.
The elements of the PNP also never fail to be the instruments in further oppressing the poor. They clearly don’t serve the interests of the people, but act against them. It is a matter that the new DILG secretary Mar Roxas should be addressing–the brutality of his police forces–instead of attending an expo in China to bring home more economic projects that will only demolish more homes of the urban poor.
Amidst all the demolitions in urban poor communities, the urban poor have no choice but to fight back and stand our ground. We will defend our homes against every attempt of demolition by this anti-poor administration, and his Public-Private Partnership programs.