It’s about time the Philippine government blasts squatters out of the water

Apparently emboldened by the rising anger over the man-made nature of the massive floods that devastated much of Metro Manila last week and increasingly loud calls to rectify the problems related to it that politicians had allowed to fester for decades, President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III has issued a strong mandate for decisive action to be taken. Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson on Monday echoed this directive when he announced his latest marching orders from the President: “I just received instructions from the President that if push comes to shove, we will have to blast these houses if the residents do not leave within a certain period.” He was referring to various illegally-built structures in and around “waterways and other danger zones”…

Singson said last week’s flooding proved the need for government to set a deadline to remove settlements from danger zones and that 195,000 informal settler families would be forcibly relocated if needed.

“They have to be removed,” Singson added.

Of the target families, some 125,000 families live along waterways in Metro Manila and another 70,000 around Laguna Lake.

Squatters, also known by the politically-correct term “informal settlers”, and the illegal structures they erect, have long been seen as the single biggest urban blight that contributes significantly to the problem of flooding in the Philippines’ wretched capital. Add to that too all the other illegally-erected structures of businesses backed by local politicians, such as the fish pens that proliferate all over Laguna de Bay. In both of these, we have before us the mother of all low-hanging-fruit solutions that President BS Aquino’s achievement-starved government badly needs.

Indeed, all these being illegal, there is in principle no legal impediment to a bit of state-sanctioned violence being applied for a change. There really is no reason why government forces could not just simply “blast” them literally out of the water.

Perhaps, making Metro Manila a difficult place to live in for impoverished people might force Filipinos to think twice about summarily setting up camp there. Simply enforcing the law may instill the sort of resourcefulness and enterprise that have long eluded Filipinos and, instead, force people to live off the otherwise rich land of these volcanic islands.

At the root of the problem, as most Filipinos are already aware of, is the country’s enormous population. This little complication is what makes otherwise obvious solutions languish in the monumentally convoluted chatter that characterises the national “debate”. Yet it is a well-known reality that every additional Filipino born is a macro-economic liability. The law of supply-and-demand is very clear about how enormous numbers spell certain devaluation.

Perhaps, in these floods, nature is telling us something. In that light, history has some stories to tell. A series of epidemics known as the “Black Death” that swept across Europe over the latter half of the fourteenth century decimated its human population. In England, a population of 6 million was almost halved by the pestilence. The aftermath of that devastation yielded an interesting outcome, however. Peter Ackroyd, in his book The History of England – Foundation describes what happened…

Yet the pestilence had slow but permanent effects on English society. The shortage of labour [as a result of the population decline] had the immediate result of increasing both the level of wages and the chances of employment. The phenomenon of the landless or impoverished peasant wholly disappeared. But the rising demands of the working people who had survived, their worth now doubled by the epidemic, provoked a reaction from the landowners and magnates. The knights of the shires, in particular, perceived a threat to good order.

An Ordinance of Labourers was passed by a parliament in 1349, forbidding employers to pay more for labour than they had before the pestilence. The same Act deemed that it was illegal for an unemployed man to refuse work. The measures were not realistic. Many workers and their families could simply move to another district and to a more generous employer who was willing to ignore the law. Some migrated to towns, for example, where there was great demand for manual labourers such as masons and carpenters. A ploughman might become a tiler. More than enough work was available.

[…]

Many younger people now possessed their own holdings of land. And the best land did not remain vacant for long. There had once been too many farmers and labourers working too little soil, but now they were dispersed over the countryside.

Interesting bit of history there, ain’t it?

If you think about it, Manila’s squatters occupy precious land and overrun and utterly devalue the city’s labour market — all without paying their dues. Indeed, Manila’s legitimate taxpaying residents effectively subsidise their continued residency in the country’s premier city yet, at the same time, suffer the effects of the degradation these “informal settlers” subject the city environment to. Where is the justice in that?

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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44 Comments on "It’s about time the Philippine government blasts squatters out of the water"

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fishball
Guest

Support the president always! He knows what to do. Unlike Gloria, a weak leader, never had that will to get rid of informal settlers because she got her cheated vote from them.

MidwayHaven
Guest

Your mother let you out of the basement again?

Anonymous
Guest
“Support the president always!” Hell no, we wont do that. Why would we support someone that is clearly INCOMPETENT??? “He knows what to do.” Since when??? If he always knew what to do then why is there still parts of luzon still submerged in floods? Why did he allow hong kong nationals to DIE? Why did he get caught partying while people were dying in CDO? Why does he continue to protect his KKK? And why the F*CK should we listen to YOU? “Unlike Gloria, a weak leader, never had that will to get rid of informal settlers because she… Read more »
Ragpen
Guest

i think fishball is just trolling us guys…. seriously… don’t reply

tonybac
Guest

But she was able to remove those people living by the railroad tracks, isn’t she?

Anton g
Guest

“Didn’t she”

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Lies and full of Yellow Propaganda.

Can you elaborate why GMA is a weak leader? The truth is that it was the opposite after all. 😛

braulio calongin
Guest

our government will be surely worry about 195,000 individual families which will affect their salary when the budget is not enough.

fishball
Guest

The CCT is in tact. I think that will help them to rise again.

Anonymous
Guest

Meh, completely missing the point again.
Go back into your pathetic hole stupid troll.

Gogs
Member

Fishball, do you actually think or repeat what ever is in today’s memo from the Minister of Propaganda? Again, I am glad you are safe , you are an annoying zombie but I will never wish you harm. Ingat sa pauwi from the Palace.

itchyBB
Guest

CCT??? Goodness that’s the TAXPAYER’S sweat and blood being doled out to people who barely wanna help themselves!
It is intact??? FINE! Give us the ledger and let the middle class be the judge!

Ako ba pag nabaha at mawalan ng tahanan o mahal sa buhay e may makukuha ng tulong pinanasyal na walang interest???

You’re continued defense of the current admins “projects” is NAKAKASUKA!

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Fact is you love DOLE OUTS.

And that sir, is STUPID. 😛

DustonB
Guest
While I do agree that squatters should be moved and not allowed to build shanties on land that they do not own; I am irritated at the idea of “blasting them out of the water”. The cavalier attitude that many take toward the squatters seems as though they forget that although these people are there illegally, they are still PEOPLE first and foremost. Many squatters are living in the house that their parents or even grandparents built (have you been to Tandang Sora’s squatter area as I have? They have concrete structures for God’s sake! It is clear that the… Read more »
freethinker
Guest
Does that make it any mpre right than it is wrong? Does living in the same dwelling that your forefathers have built, albeit be it on a piece of land that they know they do not own in the first place, gives them a license to usurp that property? Informal settlers in this country are indeed lucky. We have enacted laws that makes squatting in the Philippines lucrative. Imagine having a piece of prime real property in Metro Manila without having to work for it, while most Pinoys have to work hard just to buy their own dwellings outside the… Read more »
upNngrad
Guest

Technical detail…. which poses an impediment.

Some LINA LAW has requirements — some things have to happen before “forcibly relocating” the squatters.

Pi
Guest

1.) Allow foreign companies in the Phils.
2.) Make them not focus on Manila but also on other cities.
3.) Wait for a sufficient time. Build public housing units
4.) Demolish all the squatters, paying them compensation and moving them to alloted housing units.
5.)Demolish buildings and build waterways that could not only lesen flooding but possibly can be used as a taxiway for boats, giving moar jobs.
6.)???
7.) Profit!

Phriel
Guest

Say that you are able to relocate the population of illegal settlers to a safer area. How do you prevent those settlers from selling their new homes for quick cash and build in the very place they were moved out of?

I suggest they make the men and women work to build their own place, pay them for it and make them sign a contract in which they promise never to return to their old habitat. Promise them a job in return for their compliance. Make them learn to be diligent and loyal employees by teaching them how to fish.

ahehe
Guest

There was a program by pnoy gov’t where squatters are supposed to be relocated to the countryside and plant kamote (sweet potatoes).

No idea what happened to that one.

K3
Guest

It sounds like a joke and no one took it seriously. Another crop would’ve sounded better.

Unfortunately, farming, while a noble vocation, will not catch the attention of lazy folk as it’s equated with hard labor and low income.

thekatling
Guest

Hindi na bago ang ginagawa nang mga illegal settlers na binebenta ang bahay at bumabalik sa dati nilang tinitirhan.

Problema din kasi minsan ay ang mga illegal settlers na ito. Karamihan sa kanila ay tamad at minsan naman gusto nila kaagad na malaking kita. Hindi lang sapat na bigyan sila ng trabaho, dapat din silang gabayan sa tamang pamumuhay.

j
Guest

I think unless the owners of the land makes a move, they couldn’t prevent those informal settlers from coming back.

Question though, PNR, how they managed to remove the squatters in their tracks and keep them out?

Felipe
Guest

Dapat meron mahigpit na zoning policy lalo diyan sa mga populated areas.

mcalleyboy
Guest

I used to believe that the flooding was the squatters fault because of the news but after living here now for over 3 years I find that hard to believe now, more like a serious issue with diverting water and then the complaint is that the squatters block the water, come on.

ahehe
Guest

Somebody from the squatters area dumped trash in front of a boat …

where MMDA chairman Tolentino and Ted Failon are currently on board.

ondoy
Guest
the really bad floods were due to the dam waters, managed by dam administrators. lubog tayo dahil sa ganid na mga negosyante at rent seeking nila lopez, ayala, tan, sy, et al. dahil sa rent seeking nila Lopez( An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines. Edited by Alfred W. Mccoy. Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Madison, 1993. Pp. x, 541; http://www.philstar.com/opinion/76707/unraveling-rent-seeking-economy) nasa langit na cost ng kuryente, lumayas na mga pangunahing industria dahil hindi maka compete ang power rate natin. ngayon pati tubig kinartel na.. dapat tanggalin ang cartel ng maynilad,manila water. ibalik sa… Read more »
philippaopao
Guest

Just scanned the article really. I’m too lazy to read for now, but one word immediately popped out of my mind once I saw these in the headlines: LINA =))

Matthew Parkes
Guest

[pedantry] Decimated actually means to reduce by 10%. The population was halved not decimated. [/pedantry]
BS will only enforce this law if it can be proven that it has some link to the Hacienda. After all, I am sure the family line is that all of the farmers of the Hacienda are simply squatters….

Felipe
Guest

In that case, the land belongs to those farmers. The Cojuangcos are the ones squatting.

Sid
Guest

Illegal squatters barely have any rights. They are merely used as cheap commodity for politicians and publicity by those trashy variety shows. Their settlements are nothing more than pig pens or chicken hatches to contain them until needed. Them moving out would certainly change for a whole lot better, but the bigwigs won’t have that. They’ll pull everything in their power to keep the status quo through backdoor deals and bureaucracy. That’s how deeply entrenched their dependence on these poor people have. Funny how that works.

Felipe
Guest

I would wait until AbNoy implements this plan and see if it actually works before I sing any of his praises. We know how he tends to make promises he doesn’t actually keep, and skews the facts, figures, and results just to mislead the public.

In fairness to him tho’, he could be lauded for taking an unpopular position which is quite unusual for him.

Hyden Toro
Guest
Unfortunately, I had heard the same statement; when I was young…Now, I’m matured and married. I hear the same statement again. Squatters, which they sweeten their term as :”Informal Settlers”; are like “Houseflies. You drive them away. The next day; or the next week; or the next month. They are back in the same place, where they build their Shanties. They are protected by politicians, as sources of Block Votes. Erap Estrada use them, when elections. Erap distributes: Tuyo, rice, noodles, etc…to show his care for them, and to Hook their votes….So, I cross my fingers on the marching order.… Read more »
Sb67
Guest

Sad but true. The majority of the votes come from their vote farms.:(

pussyfoot
Guest
Yeah, reminds of that controversial disease, the bubonic plague. But hey isn’t it too much if the same thing will happen and this time, to the filipinos? Well I won’t pray for such a deadly phenomenon to occur in the Philippines much even in the farthest future. Well any politician won’t sacrifice his own name just to forcibly blast those people out along marikina river. Come election time no matter how hideous these informal settlers to the eyes are, their numbers and ballots will keep them attractive to the eyes of those politicians. I just can’t imagine how dirty the… Read more »
RONNIE
Guest

What is the exact point of this article? We know what the problem is.So is the author suggesting a divine extermination of his fellow countrymen?or simply giving us who wasted are time reading this article a history lesson that has nothing to do with the problem the squatters have created?

jaks2
Guest

no real solution offered here. just complaints again that weve heard before

Godot
Guest

Take the squatter population and place them in the agricultural sector. Really, we seriously need to be a self-sufficient country. Agriculture and use of natural resources would make a strong backbone for a developing country.
We have enough smart people, we just need more hard-working ones.

Godot
Guest

Damn, this article was too awesome to read.

I have posted here before under a different alias; ‘Du hast’, I think. And I specifically stated that if the squatters were to be removed, and that would solve most of our problems… And now it seems we share the same sentiment, benign0.

Although, I would like to go on that the squatters are not the root of the problem.

Aegis-Judex
Guest

While I understand that the problem with squatters is a really tough one, killing them off outright en masse? I’m pretty sure that translates to genocide at worst.

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