Conditions in relocation sites ‘doubly miserable’

DESPITE the increased allocation for housing in the 2011 national budget, housing and relocation remains a big challenge for the Aquino administration, a lawmaker said yesterday.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano also disclosed that the Philippines has been declared as “housing rights violator” by the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), a Geneva-based international campaigner for the protection of housing rights.

“Since 2006, COHRE did not revoke its verdict. It is up to Aquino administration to reverse the shameful title,” Mariano said.

“The government, through national housing agencies and local units persist to use various strategies such as pressuring residents to relinquish housing rights by signing waivers and self-demolitions and then ‘voluntarily’ relocating them to sites that are not fit to be lived in,” Mariano said.

“Urban poor residents demolished from their communities are being dumped to even more miserable relocation sites – in remote areas inaccessible to basic services like hospitals, schools, transport system and lacking essential utilities like safe drinking water and electricity,” Mariano said.

The solon cited the dismal condition of thousands of urban poor relocatees in Montalban, Rizal and Southville, Cabuyao Laguna who were practically abandoned by the government after relocation. “What happened to them?

After they were dumped at the relocation sites, the government “did not even bother to improve their situation.”

“It is understandable why residents of Sitio San Roque-North Triangle are fighting tooth and nail to resist demolition of their homes. They know what will happen to them in relocation sites.”

The Anakpawis solon said the government must allot higher budget for a genuine socialized and subsidized housing that will help alleviate the problem of homelessness in major urban centers in the country. D’Jay Lazaro

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