Urban poor groups launch protest action at QC Hall of Justice

URBAN poor groups under Kadamay will hold a picket action this morning outside the Quezon City Hall of Justice as their motion to lift the warrants of arrest issued to six urban poor leaders from North and East Triangle is to be heard this morning at 830am at Branch 42 of the QC Metropolitan Trial Court.

Yesterday, North Triangle residents have clashed with the police in their attempt to execute a temporary blockade of the northbound lane of EDSA in condemnation of the ‘overkill’ demolition of homes along BIR, and the harassment on their leaders.

The six urban poor activists had been in hiding since October 5 after six armed policemen in civilian uniform had failed to arrest Jocy “Ka Malou” Lopez, chair of Kadamay North Triangle as residents drove the police away from the community. The leaders-activists are expected to face the court this morning, as their members are to call to lift the warrant of arrest issued by court to the leaders.

They were charged with cases of illegal assembly and malicious mischief after staging a protest action at President Aquino’s ancestral mansion in Times Street, QC.

In case of possible arrests, the protesters plan to stage a picket rally wherever the leaders will be detained, either at the Quezon City Jail or at the Masambong Police Precinct.

Other leaders who are issued with arrest warrants are Sheila Marie C. Buenaflor, chair of Alyansa ng Kabataang Lumalaban para sa Sambayan (AKLAS); Myrna Dalida, officer of Anakpawis Agham Chapter; Carlito Villilia, Jr, officer of Anakbayan BIR Road Chapter; Rogelio Borres, chair of Anakbayan NIA Road Chapter; and Karen Romero, member of Anakbayan North Triangle Chapter.

Estrelieta Bagasbas, chair of September 23 Movement, said the issuance of arrest warrants to their leaders and the absence of notices of eviction to residents along BIR are ‘treacherous moves’ of local and national government aimed to weaken the resistance of residents against the implementation of the Quezon City Central Business District project.

Remorseless president

According to Bagasbas, the Aquino government has been implementing violent eviction of urban poor settlers from their communities and harassing their leaders without respect to their human rights, and without any remorse. “The anti-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan is his answer to the resistance of the urban poor,” she added.

“Despite the protests, Aquino has remained silent about the eleven urban poor leaders who were killed in defense of their homes and about the not less than 16,000 families who ended up homeless or more impoverished in government’s relocation sites, since he assumed his post as president,” she added.

Meanwhile, militant urban poor group Kadamay demands that Aquino has to stop the demolition of homes in urban poor communities immediately. If not, it is the Aquino administration that has to end.

The group has also called Aquino the ‘butcher and number one human right violator of the urban poor’.

“The law may consider us illegal squatters, but we are human and we need a shelter for our family. If the government could provide us with jobs with a decent wage that is not just enough for our family to survive each day, we would not live in a squatter colony,” Bagasbas said.

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