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Urban poor demands security of land and housing tenure, challenges GMA to deliver promises of her past SONAs

27 July 2008, 6pm – On the eve of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Gloria M. Arroyo, a hundred residents of Tonsuya, Malabon gathered in front of MC Mall in Malabon to deliver their own SONA. The action, led by League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA), was part of the week-long activities of the National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) dubbed as “SONA ng MARALITA, HINDI SONA ng MASALITA: Sa community, HINDI sa Commonwealth.”

“More and more people are now living in extreme poverty. We have not felt the progress that Gloria M. Arroyo had always bragged about in her past state of the nation addresses. Tomorrow, she will report again of statistical progress including her so-called achievements in mitigating, if not fully alleviating poverty in the country,” said Jun Bagasala, leader of LUPA – a member of NUPCO.

Bagasala explained that in Tonsuya alone, 3,200 families who are living in the 5.8 hectares of informal settlements have long been struggling to have security of tenure in the lands they have been occupying for decades already. “For years, we have been fighting for this land to be expropriated by the local government unit for socialized housing. We do not want relocation in the periphery of Metro Manila where life is even more difficult because of absence of livelihood for the relocatees. We have also been demanding from both the local and national institutions financing for on-site housing development.”

Tonsuya is a private land owned by the Gozon family. The area was part of a reclamation project of the National Housing Authority and in 1967 a presidential proclamation was issued on socialized housing in the area. The proclamation was contested by the Gozons in court from 2000 to 2005, which decided in their favor. The Gozons are reportedly open to voluntary sale negotiations with the residents

Bagasala added that as long as the land is not expropriated for socialized housing, residents will continue to face the threats of demolition and eviction from their homes as the Gozons who are the “land claimants” pursue this to be able to build a commercial complex once the area is cleared.

Their problem on security of land/housing tenure is compounded by the crisis in rice and energy – oil and electricity. “We want this government to act now on our pleas and demands. Now is not the time for ‘talks.’ What we want is humane housing, decent jobs, safe and affordable water as well as affordable and ample supply of rice.”

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July 27, 2008 Posted by | PILOT CAMPAIGN AREAS, PRESS RELEASES/STATEMENTS, Tonsuya | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urban poor coalition holds its 2nd day of community protest action, demands on-site development in Damayang Lagi

PRESS RELEASE
July 25, 2008

The destitute situation of the urban poor especially here in Metro Manila where millions are hungry, without decent jobs, and still live in slums despite the proclamations by Gloria M. Arroyo since 2001 that the lands where they live would be theirs is the primary reason why the urban poor groups and their communities affiliated with the National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) would rather conduct the SONA in their communities rather than hear the President’s SONA in Commonwealth Avenue .

On the second day of the week-long community protest action that kicked off yesterday at the Parola Compound in Manila, NUPCO members and settlers in Damayang Lagi in Quezon City reiterated the call for security of tenure in the lands and houses they have been occupying for decades already.

Some 1,200 families/structure owners in a 21,000 square-meter lot called Damayang Lagi, along E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City, are currently facing the threats of demolition of and eviction from their homes because of the government’s plan for a mixed use of the land for housing and commercial site.

“If this mixed use plan of the Department of Finance and the Quezon City government pushes through, approximately 4,800 of us who are all living here will be dislocated. Some of these people have been here since 1960’s and 1970’s,” said Noel Cano, leader of NUPCO member organization Umalab Ka that is actively campaigning for humane housing for the poor and on-site development that integrates the poor in the area.

The residents through the people’s organizations and the Barangay council in the said area recently formed Task Force On-Site (TF-ONSITE) as they intensify their opposition to the mixed use plan.

TF-ONSITE asserts the right of the poor to remain in the land where they have raised their families and have built a community. It calls on both the local and national governments to implement instead an on-site development plan that does not exclude the poor living in said land.

“We will challenge the mixed use plan even if we have to reach the judicial courts as there seems an irregularity here in the land classification in Damayang Lagi. From 1970’s until 2001, Damayang Lagi had always been classified as a residential land. How can it be easily classified as a commercial land under zoning ordinance or land use plan of Quezon City in 2001?” said TF-ONSITE chairperson Jess Alco.

Church and human rights groups joined the urban poor dwellers as they shouted “ON SITE DEVELOPMENT, NOT DEMOLITION,” while holding the lit candles at 6:30 in the evening along E.Rodriguez Ave. in Quezon City.

NUPCO believes that “the government’s housing program is flawed in a major way. Poor people want and need a place in the city, not at the foothills of resettlement sites like Montalban.” The coalition added that even the proclamations declaring the lands for socialized housing appear to be fake. In Parola alone, despite the two proclamations issued by GMA in 2001 and 2004, the security of land and housing tenure of the residents there remain unrealized. Also in one part in Taguig, GMA’s proclamation in 2004 turned out to be false, that was why the people there were reportedly demolished last month.

The groups asserted that GMA only used these proclamations to pacify residents who are known to distrust and dislike her.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Damayang Lagi, PILOT CAMPAIGN AREAS, PRESS RELEASES/STATEMENTS | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parola residents claim rights to own the land they are occupying

At 6 pm of July 24, the series of community actions dubbed as “SONA ng MARALITA, HINDI ng MASALITA! Sa Community, HINDI sa Commonwealth” by the National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) kicked off at Parola Compound in Manila.

A hundred slum dwellers/informal settlers gathered in front of Gate 20 of Parola Compound where they held a candlelighting which according to them symbolized the glaring truth of poverty in contrast with what they are expecting to be a SONA full of promises and empty rhetoric of progress. Noise barrage that ensued was what they called as noise from empty stomach of the poor.

The residents were demanding the immediate implementation and expansion of the coverage of Presidential Proclamations 96 and 571 declaring parcels of land in Parola and Binondo for socialized housing.

“The forthcoming SONA of the President of Crises Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be as usual, full of promises and empty rhetoric of progress bereft of the realities of poverty hammering the vast populace of the Filipino people including the urban poor,” said Von Mesina, NUPCO National Council member and Secretary General of Pambansang Katipunan ng Maralitang Pilipino (PKMP).

“What we need is food on the table and not statistical progress as what GMA and her cohorts are providing this nation and the poor, NO FOOD, NO PROGRESS!” Mesina added.

Meanwhile, League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA) National Chairman Jess del Prado articulated that “the prices of food particularly rice and transportation had risen to a level we, the urban poor, cannot humanely confront, and with this kind of government it will continue to rise. The effect of globalization, which in reality is foreign and elite domination and exploitation of our country, is now effectively eroding the very foundation of any nation, the empowerment of the basic unit of our society, our families!”

“Look at us. We have nothing. No jobs, no formal education, no assured food on the table, no healthcare, NOTHING! What is left is our dignity. The dignity to force GMA to implement Proclamation 96 issued in 2001 and 571 issued in 2004 declaring parts of Parola Compound as land for socialized housing which she herself proclaimed and to fight for expanding the coverage of the proclamation and arrest the decades-long problem of security of land tenure of the people of Parola Compound and Isla Puting Bato. The dignity to fight for our right to life hindered by lack of sustainable jobs compound the high cost of rice and transportation. We only have the dignity to fight for our rights to HUMANE HOUSING AND DIGNIFIED LIVING!” said Joel Sacaguing, a local leader of PKMP.

Until now, despite the two proclamations issued by GMA, there is no realization of Parola residents’ wish and claim to rights to own the land they are occupying and security of land tenure. The groups asserted that GMA only used these proclamations to pacify residents who are known to distrust and dislike her.

NUPCO member organizations Pambansang Katipunan ng Maralitang Pilipino (PKMP) and League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA) led the local protest action in the area.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Parola, PILOT CAMPAIGN AREAS | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manifesto ng mga Taga-Parola

Kasiguruhan sa Makataong Paninirahan at Pamumuhay ng Maralitang Lungsod

Deklarasyon ng Pagkakaisa at Paninindigan
Hinggil sa kasiguruhan sa palupa at pabahay para sa mga taga-Parola

Kung saan, may hindi bababa sa halos dalawampung libong pamilya ang hindi lang dalawang dekada nang naninirahan sa Parola. Marami ang nagkapamilya, nagkaanak, at nagkaapo na sa lugar na ito. Sa kasalukuyan, malaking porsyento ng populasyon ay mga kababaihan at kabataan.

Kung saan, ang karapatan sa pabahay at makataong pamumuhay ay isa sa mga pundamental na karapatang pantao na kinikilala hindi lang ng mga pandaigdigang tratado, kasunduan, at konbensyon, kundi pati ng ating konstitusyon. Karapatan ng bawat mamamayan na magkaroon ng disente, maayos, tahimik at may dignidad na pamumuhay.

May sinusunod na pitong (7) pamantayan para sa pabahay ang United Nations Declaration of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: seguridad sa paninirahan, serbisyo publiko, mura at karampatang subsidyo, angkop na paninirahan, aksesibilidad sa publiko, lokasyon, at integresyong kultural.

Maging ang ating sariling batas, ang Republic Act No. 7279 o ang Urban Poor Development and Housing Act, ay nagsasaad ng ilang rekisito sa pamahalaan para matugunan ang pangangailangan ng maralita sa pabahay. Ilan dito ay ang direktang pagtatayo ng pasilidad para sa sosyalisadong programa sa pabahay (socialized housing program) at may partisipasyon ng pribadong sektor sa pagbibigay ng 20% ng kanilang capital investment tax o spatial allotment sa kanilang mga housing development projects.

Kung saan, si Gloria M. Arroyo mismo ay nilagdaan ang Proklamasyon bilang 96 noong 2001 , Proklamasyon bilang 571 noong 2004, at Executive Order 108 na nagdedeklara na ang ilang bahagi ng Parola ay lupang ibinibigay para sa pabahay ng mga naninirahan doon. Subalit hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay hindi pa rin naipapatupad ang mga nasabing proklamasyon at kautusan.

Kung kaya, kaming mga mamamayan sa Parola Compound pati na sa Isla Puting Bato sa Lungsod ng Maynila at mga indibidwal at organisasyong naniniwala sa pakikipaglaban sa karapatan ng mga maralita sa makataong pamumuhay at paninirahan ay nagkakaisa sa mga sumusunod na panawagan at hakbang:

1. IPATUPAD ANG MGA PROKLAMASYONG NAGDEDEKLARA NG LUPANG PABAHAY SA PAROLA. Bigyan ng mga titulo ng lupa ang mga naninirahan sa Parola. Ito ang maggagarantiya sa atin ng katiyakang hindi tayo mapapaalis pa dito sa Parola. Magpasa ng resolusyon ang lokal na pamahalaan upang siguruhin ang pagpapatupad nitong mga proklamasyon at pamamahagi ng titulo sa mga mamamayan.

2. PALAWAKIN PA ANG SAKOP NG MGA PROKLAMASYON. Dapat ay buong Parola, Binondo at Tondo kasama ang Isla Puting Bato, ang sakupin ng programang palupa na ating hinahangad. Dapat ding magkaroon ng programa para magkaroon ng makataong paninirahan ang mga nainirahan sa ibabaw ng dagat katulad ng mga nasa Isla Puting bato. Walang dapat maiwan sa kawalang katiyakan sa paninirahan.

3.MAGKAROON NG TAUNANG AWTOMATIKONG 5 PORSYENTONG (5%) ALOKASYON MULA SA BADYET NG PAMAHALAANG PANGLUNGSOD. Dapat magkaroong ng awtomatikong alokasyon para sa palupa at pabahay para sa mga maralita upang matiyak ang badyet para dito. Wala nang magiging dahilan pa upang hindi matulungang magkaroon ng seguridad sa makataong paninirahan ang mga maralitang mamamayan kapag meron nang pondo para dito.

4.ITATAG ANG LOCAL HOUSING BOARD AT SIGURUHIN ANG PAGKAKAROON NG TAMANG REPRESENTASYON NG MAMAMAYAN DITO. Ang tagumpay ng pakikipaglaban para sa palupa at pabahay ay higit na magkakaroon ng katiyakan kung may kapangyarihan ang mamamayan, laluna ang mga maralita, sa pagdedesisyon sa pondong nakalaan para sa kanila at pagtitiyak na ito’y makakarating sa kanila.

Sa harap ng krisis na nararanasan natin ngayon, dignidad na lang ang meron tayong mga mahihirap. Ang ating mga bahay ay katumbas ng ating dignidad. At ang paggiba sa ating mga bahay ay katumbas ng paggiba sa ating dignidad. Kung kaya’t hindi dapat mawala ang ating mga bahay. Ipaglaban ang karapatan sa makataong paninirahan at pamumuhay.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Parola, POSITION PAPERS | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proclamation No. 571

Reserving certain parcel of land of the public domain located in Binondo, Manila for socialized housing purposes open for disposition in favor of qualified beneficiaries under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7279 otherwise known as “the Urban Development and Housing Act.” Issued on 9 March 2004.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Parola, RELEVANT LAWS | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proclamation No. 96

Declaring a certain parcel of land, known as the Parola Estate, under the administration of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) situated in Barangay 20, District 1, Tondo, City of Manila, open for disposition to the actual occupants in accordance with Republic Act. No. 708, in relation to the provisions of the Public Land Act, (Commonwealth Act No. 141), as amend. Issued on 3 September 2001.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Parola, RELEVANT LAWS | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Order No. 620-A

Expanding the composition of the Urban Triangle Development Commission and clarifying its structure and functions, thereby amending Executive Order No. 620 Series of 2007. Issued on 11 September 2007.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | North Triangle, RELEVANT LAWS | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Order No. 620

Rationalizing and speeding up the development of the East and North Triangles, and the Veterans Memorial Area of Quezon City, as a well-planned, integrated and environmentally balanced mixed-use development model. Issued on 4 May 2007.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | North Triangle, RELEVANT LAWS | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Order No. 205

DESIGNATING THE NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY AS ONE OF THE COOPERATING AGENCIES IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GREATER MANILA MASS TRANSPORT SYSTEM (GMMTS). Issued on 7 May 2003.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | North Triangle, RELEVANT LAWS | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Order No. 108

DECLARING A PORTION OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS) PROPERTY LOCATED IN PAROLA, TONDO AND BINONDO, MANILA AS SOCIAL HOUSING SITE AND PROVIDING FOR THE DISPOSITION THEREOF TO QUALIFIED OCCUPANTS AND BENEFICIARIES. Issued in 2001 (?)

July 8, 2008 Posted by | Parola, RELEVANT LAWS | , , , , , | Leave a comment