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Initial Brief on Damayang Lagi

Some 1,200 families/structure owners and approximately 4,800 individuals in Damayang Lagi, along E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City are currently threatened with dislocation from their homes if the government’s mixed use plan for the area will be implemented. Some of the residents there had built their homes on that land in 1960’s and 1970’s.

In the name of development, profit maximization, additional revenues for the city, and for aesthetic reason, the Quezon City government under Mayor Sonny Belmonte plans to transform the 21,000 square meter-Damayang Lagi into a commercial and residential site. A mixture of permanent and semi-permanent structures of urban poor or informal settlers are currently erected in that site.

Commercial building will be constructed in the area along E. Rodriguez Avenue while the medium rise buildings (MRBs) for residential units will be built behind the commercial buildings or in the inner areas.

Damayang Lagi as a prime commercial and residential site

Damayang Lagi land is owned by the Department of Finance (DoF) through its Privatization and Management Office (PMO). It used to be the Magdalena Estate that was used as loan collateral (?) to the Development Bank of the Philippines in the 70’s. But it was foreclosed by the bank in 1977. There were several attempts to redeem the land, but all these failed. The DoF’s valuation of the land when this was bid out in December 1997 was PhP 23,000/sq.m.

The area was declared by the DoF as Area for Priority Development (APD) consistent with Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree 2060 which identified Damayang Lagi as one of the priority areas for development in Quezon City. In fact, it was the 10th priority area then during the time of Marcos. The land was later classified under the Asset Privatization Trust (APT) during the Aquino administration, which targets various lands for disposal to generate additional revenue for the government.

There may be some irregularities/questions with regard to the land classification of Damayang Lagi which may affect the QC government’s plan for the area. From 1970’s until 2001, Damayang Lagi had been classified as a residential land. However, in 2001, under Mayor Belmonte, it was classified as a commercial land under zoning ordinance or land use plan of Quezon City.

The community and the Barangay Council oppose the commercial land classification of Damayang Lagi. In effect, the whole community of Damayang Lagi is vehemently opposed to the commercial classification of their land by the Quezon City government.

However, the communtiy believes that their will was overpowered by the influential Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association (CREBA). In pursuing its opposition to the reclassification of Damayang Lagi from residential to commercial, the Barangay Council of Damayang Lagi passed a resolution in 2005 seeking the classification of the land to be reverted to its original classification as residential land. Councilor Intong sponsored this resolution at the City Council, but the Committee where the resolution was referred to has still not acted on the resolution.

Intensifying Community Protest

After three years, the affected community revived its opposition to the impending demolition of their houses due to the zoning ordinance of Quezon City which reclassified their land as commercial. In fact, several groups have emerged to pursue the protest against the plan to implment the mixed use of the land as commercial and residential sites. These groups are asserting their right to be there, where they grew up and have families of their own, and most especially their right to a dignified life which include a decent housing for them.

These groups include the National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) members in the area – Umalab Ka, Pagkakaisa ng mga Naninirahan sa Tabing Ilog (PANATA), Damayang Lagi Muslim Community, Nagbubuklod sa Damayang Lagi (NAGBUBUKLOD), and Nagkakaisang Samahan sa Damayang Lagi (NASADALA).

Task Force ON-SITE (Development)

In April 2008, a new alliance called Task Force On-Site (TF ON-SITE) was formed to pursue the on-site development position. Its members include PANATA, DL Muslim Community, NAGBUBUKLOD, NASADALA, and the Barangay Council. The Barangay Development Council and the Chair of the Committee on Urban Poor of the Barangay Council who is also the president of PANATA act as co-coordinators. NUPCO sub-area coordinator Noel Cano of Umalab Ka is the adviser of PANATA and NASADALA.

TF ON-SITE opposes the mixed use plan of the city government. The group anticipates that the plan will result in costly, thus unaffordable housing for its members. Also under said plan, their houses, in which many have already invested a lot, will be demolished.

The alliance in stead demands an on-site, “as is, where is” development in Damayang Lagi. Moreover, TF ON-SITE members have expressed willingness to pay for the land just to have a security of tenure in the area. The medium rise buildings (MRB) option is not being entertained by the residents because this is believed to be used to ease them out because of the payment cost that many of them may not be able to afford. Besides, these residents assert that they have long been structure owners in the area, thus they have the right to stay there.

RECENT UPDATES
Meanwhile, Home Insurance Guarantee Corporation (HIGC) proposes to have an off-site relocation for the affected community in order to pursue the mixed use of land project in Damayang Lagi. The PMO (owner of the land) and the Quezon City government (as developer) have ongoing talks for the so-called development of Damayang Lagi. The Asian Development Bank supports this plan through its Metro Manila Urban Settlement Project (?). The city government had conducted a census on November 2007, in coordination with some people’s organizations (?) in the area, to determine the actual number of occupants and to have an economic survey there as well. PMO and ADB are expected to finalize the plan and present it to Mayor Belmonte in June this year. Belmonte targets to complete the project before his term of office ends in 2010.

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July 8, 2008 Posted by | Damayang Lagi, ISSUE BRIEFS, PILOT CAMPAIGN AREAS | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deklarasyon ng Pagkakaisa at Paninindigan Hinggil sa Planong Central Business District ng Quezon City

Kasiguruhan sa Makataong Paninirahan at Pamumuhay ng Maralitang Lungsod

Deklarasyon ng Pagkakaisa at Paninindigan
Hinggil sa Planong Central Business District ng Quezon City

Samantalang, labing-anim na libong pamilya sa North at East Triangle at daan-daang empleyado ng Veterans Memorial Medical Center at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife ang apektado sa pagpapatupad ng Quezon City – Central Business District na itinatadhana ng Executive Order Nos. 620 at 620-A, at (may) malaking bilang ng populasyon dito ay kababaihan at mga batang 11 taon gulang pababa na nahaharap sa dislokasyon at maging sa sosyal at sikolohikal na epekto nito;

Samantalang, 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 isang mamamayan na magkaroon ng disente, maayos, tahimik at may dignidad na pamumhay.

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 may karampatang subsidyo, angkop na paninirahan, aksesibildad 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 kaya, kaming mga naninirahan sa nabanggit na mga lugar kasama ang iba’t ibang mga grupo at indibidwal na nagtataguyod ng karapatan ng mamamayan partikular ng maralita ay naglalahad ng sumusunod na posisyon ukol sa usapin ng pagpapatupad ng plano para sa Quezon City-Central Business District:

1. Tiyakin ang pananatili ng lahat ng mga kwalipikado at kasalukuyang naninirahan sa lugar.

2. Ipatupad ang magkahalong plano sa pagpapaunlad ng North at East Triangle bilang isang sonang komersyal at residensyal na may puwang para sa paninirahan at pang-ekonomiyang aktibidad ng nakaririwasa at ng mahihirap (high-end and low-end commercial and residential mixed-use development).

3. Maglaan ng 11 ektarya mula sa kabuang 29.19 ektarya ng North Triangle at 5 ektarya naman sa East Triangle para sa pabahay ng maralita sa anyo ng medium-rise buildings (MRBs) na sapat para sa kwalipikado at kasalukuyang naninirahan dito.

4. Gamitin ang bahagi ng kita mula sa komersyal na gamit ng lupa bilang pondo para sa pabahay ng maralita sa lugar.

5. I-mobilisa ang lahat ng programa ng gobyerno at iba pang institusyon para sa pabahay ng maralita gaya ng sumusunod:

Abot Kaya Pabahay
 Cooperative Housing
Gawad Kalinga
 Group Land Acquisition and Development

6. I-desenyo ang mga MRB na abot-kaya, may apat na palapag, at sukat na 35 hanggang 40 metro kwadrado (square meters) bawat yunit na pamamahalaanan ng konseho ng mga residente sa bawat gusali para sa magkahalong gamit ng pabahay at gawaing pangkabuhayan ng maralita (halimbawa: mga tindahan, palengke, at talyer sa unang palapag, at mga pabahay sa mga susunod na palapag).

7. Tiyakin ang regular na paghahatid ng mga batayang serbisyo gaya ng serbisyong patubig, kuryente, kalsada, at pangkalusugan.

8. Tiyakin ang partisipasyon ng mga mamamayan, partikular ang San Roque Community Council – North Triangle Alliance (SRCC-NTA) sa TRIDEV Commission, bilang pagtalima at pagkilala sa isang balangkas ng pagpapaunlad na pinapatakbo sa pamamagitan ng pamayanan (community-driven development framework).

9. Tiyakin ang karapatan ng mamamayan na makakuha ng wastong impormasyon hinggil sa anumang balakin para sa planong Central Business District ng Quezon City.

Sa araw na ito, ang mga nakalahad na posisyon ay pinagkakaisahang isulong na may kaakibat na karampatang pagkilos.

July 7, 2008 Posted by | North Triangle, PILOT CAMPAIGN AREAS, POSITION PAPERS | , , , , | Leave a comment