Group condemns killing of a minor during demolition in Tarlac City

THE Anakpawis Partylist-Gitnang Luson, its Tarlac provincial chapter and Karapatan-Tarlac condemned the killing of a 15-year old minor during a violent demolition of urban poor’s house at Block 7, Brgy. San Roque in Tarlac City, today early morning amidst heavy rains.  The community is along McArthur Highway near Victory Liner’s terminal.

The group identified the victim as John Cali Lagrimas, a member of Anakpawis Partylist – Tarlak and a resident of Brgy. San Francisco of the said city.  Members of Anakpawis Partylist–Tarlak and farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita have been supporting the urban poor resident’s struggle against land grabbing and illegal demolition for years.

“This is an outright violation of urban poor.  There is a pending motion for nullification at the Tarlac City Regional Trial Court and a hearing was set this coming October 12.  The police and demolition team did not present any court order.  This is obviously illegal, and a clear violation of the residents’ basic rights and due process,” Joseph Canlas said, Anakpawis Partylist – Gitnang Luson regional coordinator.

Anakpawis Partylist – Tarlak said that the residents have been occupying the lot for 51 years and paid rent to its original owner.  These past years, a certain Dennis Junio have been claiming the land but unable to present proof of his ownership, thus, the residents have resisted to vacate the lot.  About 68 families are residing on the land.

The demolition was led by a certain Col. Arnel Ramos of Tarlac city police,  composed of 200 elements of demolition team, about a hundred elements of Phil. National Police from Camp Macabulos in Tarlac City and Camp Olivas in San Fernando, Pampanga, about 20-man team of SWAT and 2 firetrucks.  They commenced the operation 8am, during heavy rains.

The residents defended their homes against the demolition team but at about 10am, elements of the PNP fired shots, killing Lagrimas and wounding many.  The residents and supporters brought the wounded to the hospital, which one is critical.

“This demolition is a manifestation of the Aquino government’s policy and program. There is no mass housing and livelihood program for the urban poor and privatization and commercialization of land are being promoted by the government.  Urban poor residents who occupy lands for decades have been disregarded and treated like animals.  They have no recourse but to unite and defend their homes against systematic demolition,” Canlas said.

“We condemn this killing and the violent demolition.  It is clearly a violation of their own rules of engagement, the due process and basic rights of the urban poor.  We hold the PNP and Aquino government responsible for this atrocity,” Canlas added.

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