Nowhere in the incident reports issued by commie publication Bulatlat did information surrounding the legality of the demolition victims’ residency in the area come up. The only piece of information remotely pertaining to some semblance of legal argument in the report was around a “notice of demolition” that supposedly expired several months ago. According to Jun Luna of the Anakpawis Partylist, “no court order was presented to the residents, as required by the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” and that the demolition was therefore “illegal”. But a statement issued by “youth group” Anakbayan referred to an “expired Court order dated September 2013”. The trouble with all these commie factions is that they don’t get their story straight before going on record.
So were the “victims” of this demolition legal residents of San Roque, Agham in the North Triangle area in Quezon City? Or are they really all just a bunch of squatters? We can’t really rely on Bulatlat to tell us for obvious reasons. Accounts of how the residents reacted to the arrival of the demolition crew were quite telling…
At around 6:00 a.m., around 1,000 police, members of SWAT and a demolition team arrived in North Triangle. In response, residents barricaded their homes.
Apparently, these “residents” were quite familiar with the drill. And, as expected, Anakbayan has swooped in with one of their standard-form statements to save the day…
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See, if all these social media “activists” who wax indignation poetry over the plight of illegal residents of prime land all over Metro Manila had their way, then there wouldn’t be any of the trendy neighbourhoods and the abundance of chi-chi cafes there that only great land developers like Ayala Land could develop for them to have their “tweetups” over 200-peso lattes. Indeed, similar sob-stories are behind the development of mega-modern facilities like the TriNoMa, Fort Bonifacio and Rockwell areas where a lot of these keyboard “activists” now hangout and field 140-character populist slogans.
We condemn in the strongest terms possible today’s violent demolition of homes in the urban poor community of North Triangle in Quezon City, including the mass arrest of at least 17 resisting residents, the indiscriminate attacks of the police against bystanders, and the sheer illegality of the entire operation.
According to initial reports, 17 North Triangle residents were arrested today. Most of them were actually assisting children and even toddlers who were affected by the indiscriminate use of tear gas by elements of the PNP. The arrested have reportedly been brought to Camp Karingal in Q.C, while those injured, including those who suffocated on tear gas, were rushed to the Veterans Medical Center.
In addition, residents have said that there is no legal basis for today’s demolition: the demolition team is using an expired Court order dated September 2013. They were not given any advance notice by the proper authorities, as mandated by law.
Worst of all, officials from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Philippine Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) ignored repeated pleas by the residents for a dialogue between the latter and the PNP.
The following events and circumstances indicate an all-out government effort to wreck the homes of thousands of North Triangle residents. Legal procedures were ignored, and government assistance was deliberately withheld.
Why is the government doing this? Because Ayala Land, which wants to build a Quezon City Central Business District (Q.C CBD) over the homes in North Triangle, is already foaming in the mouth for the expected mega-profits from their project.
We condemn the Aquino regime for taking up the interests of the Ayalas, and the elite few in general, over the welfare of the poor. We demand the swift release of those arrested, and those responsible for injuring the residents to be punished. Also, that there be an immediate moratorium to all, including future, demolition operations in North Triangle.
So much of the irony in such populist rhetoric simply flies over the heads of the nation’s commies. To Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, for example, the problem is really quite simple: “The government must instead solve unemployment.”
Dang, now why didn’t I think of that?
But then, how exactly Colmenares proposes this unemployment be “solved” remains a mystery. Taken on a per square metre employment yield, however, dense urban development the likes of which only the biggest and most highly-capitalised developers could undertake certainly contributes a lot more to addressing Colmenares’s plea than deferring to the “demands” of a bunch of people holding dubious claims to residency in the area in question.
More importantly, Metro Manila’s legal residents who have long-suffered from the horrendous traffic, chronic flooding, and festering squalor of the country’s premier metropolis are all but fed-up with the vast colonies of parasitical squatters that surround them…
The squatter problem in the Philippines has been made complicated by misguided Filipinos who think that it is the Philippine government’s sole responsibility to provide housing, education and health for them. Not only is this notion unsustainable, it is an unfair burden on taxpayers.
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno recently said that “Filipinos must be able to demand from their government their right to housing, education and health, or these socioeconomic rights would remain mere words on paper.” While Puno’s sentiments seem noble, Filipino taxpayers simply cannot afford to fund the growing number of Filipinos living below the poverty line. Some of these squatters, despite living in tiny quarters no bigger than a box, have no qualms about multiplying at a fast rate. Perhaps they have been led to believe that their children can be used to gain access to hand outs from the government.
Filipino politicians do not help solve the problem of squatters at all. If anything, they actually contribute to their proliferation. The root cause of the squatter problem seems to be the lack of urban planning from each Barangay and weak enforcement of the law by members of various agencies who are not doing their jobs properly. Obviously, they did not nip the problem in the bud. Had they been doing their jobs, they could have easily evicted the first squatter before they multiplied and became the enormous problem they are today.
Colmenares and his comrades need to do a bit more homework before they issue their two-cent opinions on the matter of the vast unemployment problem that Filipinos suffer. An ability to pull “employment” out of a hat would certainly be a nice thing, if that notion did not exist only in the fantasy doctrines of old-hat communist dogma. For now, my personal reactionary views seem to hold a bit more water than the tired slogans of these misguided tulisanes.
[Photo of San Roque squatters courtesy Quezon City Slums.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.