QC police chief letter to Ombudsman triggers alarm for demolition of homes
QUEZON CITY Police District chief’s letter to the Office of the Ombudsman created alarm among residents living in the squatter colony along Agham Road in Quezon City for a possible demolition of homes yesterday.
Mario O. Dela Vega, Police Chief Superintendent and District Director of the QCPD, in a letter dated October 25, addressed to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said that “demolition of illegally built houses and structures at Sitio Kilyawan, Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City, will be conducted on October 30, 2012 at 8:00 o’clock AM until 3:00 o’clock PM of the same date.”
“Located just across Agham Road, we are concerned of the unnecessary alarm and inconveniences that might be created by the dismantling operation,” the letter said.
On the same date that the letter was received on October 29, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman T. Rafanan issued a notice to its employees that misidentified Sitio Kilyawan as located along Agham Road. The Kilyawan area in North Triangle is along EDSA, which is already deserted by residents who volunteered to dismantle their houses before the scheduled deadline on October 30.
Meanwhile, urban poor residents in North Triangle who subsequently learned about the notice quickly set up physical barricades against a possible demolition of homes and commercial establishments along Agham Road on October 30.
Jocy Lopez, an urban poor leader of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) and a resident of North Triangle said the administration of Philippine Science High School located also along Agham Road is reported to have received a similar letter from Dela Vaga.
Come October 30, hundreds of North Triangle residents waited for the demolition team to arrive both along EDSA and Agham Road. Early that morning, Task Force Control and Prevention of all Structures and Squatting (COPRISS) dismissed the possibility of demolition in the area.
However, Philippine National Police (PNP) vehicles are spotted to be surveying the perimeter of the urban poor community as early as 7am, while at least six of their units including a SWAT service vehicle were parked near the Kilyawan area along EDSA in the same morning.
Residents in the area have faced waves of demolition threats since their first barricade in September 2010 against the construction of Quezon City Central Business District in the area.
Not false alarm
“We have reasons to believe the reported demolition of our homes yesterday was not a false alarm. The authorities are testing the water to learn of our defense plan against demolition of structures along Agham Road. They retracted from their plan after they learned that the residents of North Triangle were prepared to do everything to fail the demolition, unlike what happened along BIR Road,” said Lopez.
Lopez added that the authorities have been using ‘dirty schemes’ to fail the violent resistance of the residents against demolition such as bribing the residents’ leaders as what happened in the BIR demolition and the voluntary demolition within the 54-meter Kilyawan area along EDSA in Sitio San Roque, filing in court of made-up cases against progressive community leaders as a form of harassment, non-issuance of Notice of Eviction to have residents off-guard and the ‘overkill’ deployment of state forces to assist the demolition team.
According to Kadamay, all such schemes only show how the authorities are desperate in quelling the resistance of the urban poor, by using means that are unethical and illegal as last resort.
The group has also documented 11 cases of extra-judicial killings among urban poor who defended their homes against demolition since Aquino assumed his post.
“The state forces, both the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), had been corrupted by the big businessmen and bureaucrat capitalists to ensure the removal of urban poor settlers from their communities,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national secretary general.
The group estimated that at least 1.4 urban poor settlers face threat of eviction from their communities as the Aquino administration implements the first fourteen big infrastructure projects under its Public-Private Partnership. In Metro Manila, around 580,000 urban poor families will be homeless in the coming years.
“It is a suicidal move of the Aquino administration to declare an all-out war against millions of urban poor. He cannot bare the political and social consequences of his demolition rampage in urban poor communities,” Arellano remarked.
“Residents of North Triangle and of other urban poor communities nationwide with threats of demolition are all geared up for any violent stand-off against the authorities,” she claimed.
In the month of November, Kadamay will be holding nationally coordinated protests of the urban poor to amplify their call against what they call as ‘fascism’ of the Aquino administration.