May 29, 2011
Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino
Shots were fired and stones were hurled at the houses of two leaders of an urban poor community that is being threatened by demolition. The incidents happened late night of Friday as residents of a community at Purok 3, Barangay Makiling in Calamba, Laguna were resting and sleeping.
“We call on Mayor Jun Chipeco of Calamba and newly reappointed DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to assist the urban poor of Calamba who are being threatened by an illegal demolition,” stated Ramil Cangayo, coordinator of the Calabarzon chapter of Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP), a national network of urban poor organizations that is campaigning for a moratorium on demolitions, reforms in the housing policy and housing security of informal settlers.
At 11:45 pm last Friday three shots were fired at a light bulb in the house of Zeny Martirez, treasurer of the Samahang Magkakapitbahay Magkakaibigan Kapuso (SMMK). The shards fell on the face of her child who sustained injuries. The family recovered two bullet fragments inside their house. Earlier at 10:00 pm stones were thrown at the house of Mike Brendes, auditor of the group. Martirez and Brendes filed a report at the barangay yesterday about the incidents. SMMK leaders suspect the violent harassment is connected to the demolition being threatened by barangay captain Soliman Lajara and a certain Cao of Galaxy Realty Corp which owns the lot on which the community stands.
“Some 86 families are now living in fear because of the harassment and threats. Cao and Lajara are warning the residents that they must leave tomorrow or else be demolished. However there is no demolition order so clearly this is illegal,” Cangayao explained.
The leaders and members of SMMK had staged a rally and held a dialogue with Mayor Chipeco last May 10. Negotiations with the mayor’s office are still ongoing.
Renato Magtubo, national chair of Partido ng Manggagawa, called on President Benigno Aquino III to sign a draft executive order providing for a moratorium on demolitions and evictions. “The spate of violent demolitions in Metro
Manila, Calabarzon and Metro Cebu reveal the need for a moratorium on evictions. During the pendency of the moratorium, government must hold an honest dialogue with the urban poor for strategic solution to the problem of housing for the poor,” he explained.
PM and AMP and are involved in the consultations held by the cabinet level task force headed by Secretary Robredo with the mandate to formulate and recommend policy resolutions on the housing issues confronting the urban poor. An executive order for the moratorium drafted as a result of the consultations has remained unsigned by President Aquino.