Malabon residents claim victory anew vs demolition of homes

MEMBERS of Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Samahan sa Malabon, Inc . a local chapter of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Sitio 6, Barangay Catmon, Malabon City have claimed initial victory against demolition of their homes to give way to Community Mortgage Program in the area.

Militant groups Anakbayan and local chapters of Kadamay and Kabataan Partylist held a vigil-protest last night awaiting for possible demolition this morning.

But a demolition false alarm forced the residents to block the avenue at around 8:58am, after a DPWH truck loaded with workers passed by the community. The street barricade of residents lasted for at least 5 mins.

At least four armed police officers were reported to have visited the barricade of the residents set up along Gov. Pascual Avenue and talked with the local leader. Police denied any demolition plan this morning.

According to Divina Gulfo, acting chair of Kadamay in the area,  “Hindi ho maloloko ni [City Mayor] Oreta kaming mga mamamayan ng Catmon sa pagsasabing wala raw katotohanan ang bantang demolisyon ngayong araw.”

The leader said that it is from Mayor’s camp who informs the residents of demolition of at least 37 structures along the Gov. Pascual Avenue this morning. She added that the residents will continue with their barricade until they have written document from the local government to prove that there will be no demolition today and in the coming days.

Kadamay estimates at least 500 residents hundreds joined the barricade this morning.

Sitio 6 community has been battered by waves of demolition threats in the past years. Last January 17, some 60 forces of the PNP ans SWAT armed with M16 rifles assisted authorities from the Commission of Urban Poor Affairs Offices under the Cityhall.

In May last year, Ernesto Gulfo, leader of Kadamay chapter in the area and convenor of Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon-Malabon, and husband of Mrs. Divina was slain for defying orders of the local government to implement Community Mortgage Program in the area.

Militant urban poor group Kadamay says CMP condemns the urban poor to hardship and poverty, as they are obliged to pay monthly amortization for 25 years to claim ownership of the land. It is a form of Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership program and was proven to be a big failure of the government in addressing the housing problems of the urban poor.

Mrs Gulfo said the lack of regular employment will prevent Catmon residents from paying regularly to the government when they entered CMP. “It would be better for the residents to defend our homes today, than to permanently lose our homes in the future. We cannot stand quiet while the government tears down our homes than took years of our hard labor to be built,” she added.

By 12nn, residents are planning to march to Malabon Cityhall anticipating a dialogue with the City Mayor Lenlen Oreta.

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