At Tribunal on Forced Evictions, urban poor groups stand firm against demolitions and neo-liberal aggression in communities

July 2, 2016

Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (National Alliance of Filipino Urban Poor) or Kadamay joins various urban poor groups all over the world in calling for an end to forced evictions at the hands of pseudo-developmental programs. Kadamay is part of a contingent of organizations who converged in Taiwan to present cases at the East Asia Tribunal on Forced Evictions paralleling the trends set by the upcoming Habitat III in October. In particular, the group highlighted Sitio San Roque, one of the largest urban poor areas (seven thousand families at present) in the country whose long battle against demolitions has been both an inspiration and an enduring struggle for the residents.

San Roque has barricaded four times in the last six years to prevent the government from turning the area into a hub for foreign investment. The Quezon City Central Business District project enacted by the Ayala Land Inc, the Quezon City Government and the National Housing Authority, has attempted to burn down the area and deploy near a thousand police and demolition crews to devastate the community.

Besides this, in recent weeks the Philippines has witnessed a series of violent evictions in a seemingly unending spat of wreaking havoc on an already impoverished population. A number of provinces and cities such as Cebu, Batangas, and many other in Quezon City and Caloocan were victimized at the hands of authorities. With zero regard for the well being of the people, both national and local government units along with their corporate allies cannot seem to stop violating supposed safeguards to prevent harsh confrontations in communities. Thousands of Filipino families have been added to the maddeningly growing number of homeless people.

In the Philippines, only about 2.5% of informal settlers in the country have become seemingly exempt from being tossed aside. However, with laws like the Urban Development and Housing Act, no community is safe from being deemed a hazard to city life.

The masterminds behind this wanton destruction like former President Noynoy Aquino and current Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista must be put to justice. They are criminals and the whole world should look at as such. We will file formal charges against both.

We salute our comrades and colleagues such as the Taiwan Alliance of Anti-Forced Evictions for preparing this tribunal in response to the deficiencies of the United Nations Habitat initiative. This tribunal is only one part of a mounting movement against a most inhumane trend in developmental politics; the exploitation and exclusion of the urban poor from cities.

We assert that the violence arising from urbanization is counter-developmental and only favors the proliferation of big business. Our rights to the city, our rights to participate, create and use urban spaces geared towards the wellbeing of all inhabitants must be upheld if we are to craft a decent future for ourselves.

Michael Beltran, Information Officer,
Gloria Arellano, KADAMAY Chairperson,