Payatas urban poor gear for long march vs dumpsite expansion

SOME 500 urban poor in Payatas communities organized by the activist party list Anakpawis, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) and the Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon (AKD) will stage the Lakbayan ng Maralita Laban sa Demolition (Urban Poor March Against Demolition) today to protest what it called “pocket demolitions” of urban poor communities to pave way for expansion of Payatas dumpsite.

Leaders of Anakpawis party list, Kadamay and AKD lamented that the Quezon city government under Mayor Herbert Bautista is interested in expanding the Payatas dumpsite rather than addresisng the housing problem of urban poor families in Payatas area and other parts of the city, where there are pending demolitions to make way for business parks and high end condominiums.

“This is grandmother of all irony. Imagine the priority of city government of Quezon City is to build more dumpsites instead of buidling low cost and pro-poor housing projects in Payatas and other areas in the city,” Fernando Hicap, Anakpawis vice chairperson said in a press statement.

Hicap said he was so dismayed with the policy of the Bautista administration which puts high premium to the super profit it would gain from garbage contracts while ignoring totally the state responsibility to ensure decent, socialized and low cost mass housing project for the homeless and jobless communties in Payatas and all over the city.

“The garbage of Metro Manila and the millions of pesos it would earn from garbage contracts is the priority of the city government of Quezon City. This is very inhuman, highly revolting and totally reprehensible. We hope the city government would have a change of heart and put place high regard to the housing and social needs of Payatas people and other urban poor folks across Quezon City,” the Anakpawis party list leader argued.

Hicap said the Quezon city government hopes to develop and expand the Payatas dumpsite facility, and it is engaged in pocket demolitions of communities as a strategy to fuel if avoid widespread protest from affected communties.

The Anakpawis official said thousands of families in Payatatas are currently threatened with eviction because of the Task Force for the Control, Prevention and Removal of Illegal Structures (COPRISS) and the Payatas Operations Group which are tasked to enforce pocket demolitions to make way for Payatas dumpsite expansion.

Payatas residents will assemble at Urban Market, Lupang Pangako in Payatas B area and would have short programs at Litex Market and the House of Representatives in Batasan complex before they staged the 10-kilometer march from Commonwealth to Quezon City Hall, where they will stage a protest vigil.

The groups led by Anakpawis party list, Kadamay and AKD will also have a picket the main office of the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Meanwhile, Anakpawis party list predicted that more violent demoltions of urban poor communities around Metro Manila are expected to occur in the second half of 2013 following the order of the national government to clear the main capital of some 100,000 families of informal settlers living along water ways and flood prone areas.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary Francisco Fernandez announced last week that the plan to clear six major waterways in the sprawling capital before typhoon season starts in June is meant to save poor communities from being washed away by flood during typhoons which are expected to hit more of the second semester of 2013.

The interior and local government official said there were an estimated 105,000 squatter families living on the waterways of the capital. The 20,000 families — representing about 100,000 people — living in the six major waterways would be the first to be moved. He said forced evacuations will only be taken as a last resort.


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