Workers slam scheme to evict 100,000 urban poor

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the Aquino government’s plan to remove 100,000 urban poor from their homes in six major waterways in Metro Manila, saying the government is merely using flood control, urban poor’s safety and new rhetoric to try to prettify the eviction of urban poor from the Metro.

KMU was reacting to Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas’ announcement that the said number of illegal settlers will be removed by the DILG, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Department of Public Works and Highways from their homes before the rainy season starts in June.

“Roxas is only trying to deceive the urban poor and the public by rehashing old lies. The urban poor will merely be displaced to other so-called ‘danger zones’ and Metro Manila will not be safer from floods if this plan pushes through,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The Aquino government has no track record of providing safe and decent housing for the poor. Its track record is that of evicting urban poor communities so that business projects by big foreign and local capitalists can push through,” he added.

The labor group said that the very premise of the relocation drive, that illegal settlers worsen flood, is contentious at the very least.

It said the unhampered and unplanned construction of malls and condominiums, the continuous deforestation of mountains near Metro Manila, and the government’s refusal to de-silt creeks and rivers are more proximate causes of worsening flooding in Metro Manila.

The labor center also slammed Roxas’ promises of sufficient number of medium-rise buildings as relocation sites, in-city or near-site relocation, and consultations with residents as “old lies” which the Aquino government has been using in trying to deceive the urban poor in order to evict them from their communities.

“We’ve heard Roxas’ lies about how the government will deal with affected communities before. These lies have been promoted while the government undertakes violent demolitions of urban poor’s homes, relocations to faraway and inhumane sites, and fake consultations with affected communities,” he said.

It also said that many urban poor who were relocated to the government’s medium-rise buildings have left these structures after failing to pay the steep rents.

It said that the prohibitive rents in medium-rise buildings make them mere temporary shelters for the urban poor who will then be evicted and displaced to other areas in Metro Manila.

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