Mr. Palengke is now Mr. Estero

Mar. 20, 2013

Press Release
19 March 2013

Different urban poor groups trooped this morning to the main office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) along EDSA to denounce the department’s plan to evict some 20,000 informal settler families living along waterways in Metro Manila before the rainy season starts on June.  The protesters hurled paint bombs at enlarge image of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, whom they labeled as Mr. Estero (Demolition).

Yesterday, the DILG in a statement ensured the public that there will only be voluntary demolition of homes along waterways in Metro Manila contrary to the fear of affected families.

But urban poor leaders under Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon (AKD) believed that since majority of the affected residents are not willing to accept off-city relocation packages offered by the National Housing Authority, the DILG together with the MMDA and DPWH will resort to violence in evicting the residents as shown in past experiences.

AKD aimed this morning to hold a dialogue with DILG officials, to whom they will present a petition signed by affected families to immediately stop the implementation of waterways clearing in Metro Manila .
Carlito Badion, national secretary-general of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap and lead convenor of AKD, said that the DILG secretary, who is popular as Mr. Palengke has got a new title for himself as Mr Estero (Demolition).

“Roxas has been brave enough to implement a massive demolition in such a very short span of time, expected to be after the midterm election on May,” the leader added.

While AKD stressed that rules are set to discourage demolition of homes during election period, the alliance said that many residents in Metro Manila believed, especially in cities where incumbent mayors have no major political rivals, that eviction of their homes will be earlier than expected.

The alliance also belied the DILG’s claim that there will be in-city housing units for the 20,000 affected families.

“While Malcañang has already disbursed the P10 billion to build the relocation for the affected residents, there are limited lands in Metro Manila where these medium-rise buildings will be built contrary to earlier announcement of the DILG,” Badion said.

“The lands for the in-city relocation should be provided by the respective local government units.  So far, Quezon City and Manila has offered no space to build these MRBs,” she added.

Meanwhile, the leader has warned the DILG and the Aquino administration that the urban poor in Metro Manila are more than willing to barricade their communities against waterways clearing.

AKD said waterways clearing is part of the implementation of the National Reclamation Plan, a public-private partnership project of the Aquino administration.  The reclamation along the coastline of Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay, the alliance claimed, is expected to block the drainage of major rivers in Metro Manila into said bays, thereby intensifying cases of flooding in the metropolitan.

Carlito Badion
Lead convenor
Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon

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