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As We See It

 

This is in response to the opinion of Mr. Neal Cruz entitled “QC councilors are squatter coddlers” published in Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 2, 2009 in his column “As I See It”. We in the National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) do agree in his assertions that tax payers’ contribution to the society should be spent in meaningful projects and programs and should not be used in “aid of political considerations” of the politicians. That useless tarpaulins, concrete semi-arches, basketball courts and pool hall, and unnecessary waiting sheds which are made intentionally to provide political mileage to politicians are waste of tax payers’ money and should have negative effect to the voting public in the elections.

 

But, in the same article, we regret that Mr. Cruz made categorical statements prejudicial to one of the most marginalized sectors in our society, the urban poor/informal settlers or “squatters” as Mr. Cruz addressed the sector. While it is correct to criticize the opportunist’s exploitation of the informal settlers during elections, it is improper and inhuman to denounce a proposed law or ordinance in this case which would give much needed relief to the sector especially in this era of crisis which Councilor Bernadette Herrera-Dy’s proposed ordinance declaring moratorium on the eviction of “squatters” is bound to provide. While it is correct to protect the rights of property owners, it is heartless and insensitive to the underprivileged to even insinuate that the urban poor has occupied lands out of opportunism thus no help nor assistance should be provided to the informal settlers rather than being forced to settle informally due to economic hardship. While it is correct that the tax payers should be protected, it is wrong to say that the urban poor are non-tax paying and should not be given protection because no one can escape the Value Added Tax burden. Thus, the informal settlers are also tax payers and should also be protected. Also, all should be given equal protection, tax payers and non-tax payers alike.  

 

This is not to condemn Mr. Cruz nor praise Councilor Herrera-Dy but merely rendering our views on the matter and supporting the subject proposed ordinance. We hope that opinion makers including media practitioners support the urban poor in its war against poverty, its struggle for a place in the city and adequate social protection, and its quest for humane living and dignified housing.

 

  vcm

February 5, 2009 Posted by | 1, PRESS RELEASES/STATEMENTS | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Statement of NUPCO on the financial crisis

AEPF – Philippines Round Table Discussion

“What is to be done to protect the people in the midst of crisis?: firming up of proposals”

November 6, 2008

Ang krisis ay hindi na bago sa maralitang taga-lungsod. Sa paghahanap ng oportunidad para sa mas maayos at makataong pamumuhay kabilang ang mga tumakas sa armadong labanan sa kanayunan partikular ang mga kapatid na moro sa Mindanao, ay nasadlak ang maraming bilang ng mamamayan sa pakikipaglaban sa kahirapan sa kalunsuran. Mula sa pag-asang makakita ng liwanag sa ilaw ng kalunsuran, higit na maraming bilang ng mamamayang naghihirap sa kalunsuran ang magpasahanggang ngayon ay nakasadlak pa rin sa lugmok na kalagayang salat sa batayang serbisyo at walang katiyakan sa paninirahan. Taliwas sa pangarap na kaunlaran sa paglikas papuntang lungsod.

Ang katiyakan sa paninirahan ay siyang pangunahing adbokasiya ng maralitang taga-lungsod ngunit hindi ang kabuuan. Ang mga batayang serbisyo katulad ng tubig, kuryente at pasilidad sa kalusugan ay hindi huli sa mga ipinakikipaglaban. Ang kasalatan sa akses at mataas na halagang kinakailangan upang matugunan ang mga ito at higit ang kawalang pagpapahalaga ng pamahalaan ay lalo pang nagpapalala sa kahirapan.

Ang isang maliwanag na salamin kung gaano na kalala ang sitwasyon ng maralitang tagalungsod ay ang pinakahuling datos sa “involuntary hunger” ng SWS. Sa 18.4% o humigit kumulang na 3.3 milyong pamilya na nakakaranas ng kagutuman (3rd Quarter 2008) sa ating bansa, 560 libong pamilya o 23% ng mga kabahayan sa Metro Manila ang malaking bahagi nito.

2nd quarter of 2007 self rated urban poverty was 41%, at sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon ay patuloy na dumarami dahil na rin sa kawalan ng kumprehensibo at sustainable na programang agricultural sa kanayunan at kawalan ng industriyalisasyong nasyonal kasama pa ang patuloy na armadong labanan, hindi pa rin napagtutuunan ng pansin at salat sa mga rekisitos ng makataong paninirahan at disenteng pamumuhay ang maralitang taga-lungsod. Ang mga programang inilalaan ng pamahalaan ay hindi nakakatugon sa pangangailangan ng sektor. Ang ilan pa nga rito ay lalo lamang nagpapatindi sa kahirapang nararanasan ng maralitang taga-lungsod.

Ang nakaambang pagbulusok ng pambansang ekonomiya kaakibat ng pandaigdigang krisis ay isang alalahaning balido para sa sektor. Sa kasalukuyang lugmok na kalagayan, ano ang kahihinatnan kung hindi mabibigyan ng sapat na proteksyon at pagpapahalaga ang mga maralitang tagalungsod? Ang mga polisiyang nagpapahirap at mga programang hindi tumutugon sa pangangailangan ng maralitang tagalungsod ay dapat ng wakasan at palitan ng sasagot sa papalalim na krisis. Kasabay nito ay ang pagpapatupad ng mga programa at pagtutuon ng mga polisiya para sa interes ng maralitang taga-lungsod.

  1. Indefinite Moratorium on Demolitions/Evictions. Ang polisiya ng pamahalaan sa ngayon ay maliwanag na pag-papaalis sa informal settlements sa ngalan ng “development.” Ang pag-unlad ay hindi lamang istruktura kundi mas higit ang angkop na economic policies and environment at proteksyon sa mamamayan lalo na sa underprivileged. Ang demolisyon ay hindi dislokasyon lamang ng paninirahan kundi maging ng hanapbuhay at maliwanag na isang malaking sigwa sa ikinabubuhay ng mga apektado. Sa nakaambang krisis pang-ekonomiya, marapat lamang na magkaroon ng moratorium sa demolisyon upang hindi maapektuhan ng dislokasyon ang kasalukuyang economic activity ng maralitang taga-lungsod gaano pa man ito kaliit kung ihahambing sa pangangailangan.
  2. Restructure Problematic Loans and Condone Interests/Penalties on Failed Payment of Amortization on Low Cost and Socialized Housing Projects Affecting Such and Implement Moratorium on Amortization When Deemed Necessary. Ang maraming nabiyayaan ng programang pabahay ay hindi nakakabayad dahil na rin kakulangan ng hanapbuhay o kung mayroon man ay hindi sapat upang matugunan ang mga batayang pangangailangan, lalo na sa pagdating ng krisis. Dapat na icondone ang mga interests at penalties na kaakibat ng hindi pagbabayad at irestructure ang mga utang at ibatay sa kakayanan ng mga beneficiaries at kung kinakailangan ay mag moratorium sa pagbabayad ng amortization upang makaagapay ang maralita sa krisis.
  3. Refocus Housing Projects on the Basis of Peoples’ Needs and Rights to Shelter Rather Than Merely an Incidental Component of Infrastructure Projects. Ang mga kasalukuyang pabahay ng pamahalaan ay nakalaan ang malaking bahagi sa mga maaapektuhan ng infrastructure projects (North Rail, South Rail, C5 etc). Samakatuwid, hindi talaga seryoso ang kasalukuyang pamahalaan sa pabahay bagkus ay isang insignipikanteng bahagi lamang ng mga mas prayoridad na mga imprastraktura. Ang karapatan ng mamamayan sa makataong paninirahan ay dapat maging una bago pa ang mga kalsada. Dapat dagdagan ang badyet at exposure ng pamahalaan para sa programang pabahay at magpatupad ng programang nakabatay sa affordability, accessibility, at de kalidad na bahay.
  4. Put As-is-Where-is and On-Site Development on Top of Hierarchy of Priorities on Housing Projects.
  5. Proclaim Government Lands Occupied By Informal Settlers for Socialized Housing.
  6. Focus Government Financing on Labor Intensive and Peoples’ Development Oriented Projects.
  7. Urban Poor’s Access to Credit/Financing Must Be Given Primacy.
  8. Institutionalize Significant Peoples’ Representation/Participation in Policy Formulation and Governance.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Activities with other networks | , , , | Leave a comment

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.”

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

Urban poor groups hold noise barrage, demand jobs, services, and food

Caloocan urban poor: decent jobs, essential services, and food!
Not GMA’s empty promises on her SONA

JULY 26, 2008 – About a hundred informal settlers in Camarin, Caloocan City went out to the streets at 6pm to hold their own state of the nation address (SONA) as part of the week-long protest activities conducted by the National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) dubbed as the “SONA ng Maralita, hindi SONA ng MASALITA: Sa community, hindi sa Commonwealth.”

The urban poor in Camarin who are also mostly resettled there by the government demanded decent jobs, basic services, and food for them. They claimed that they are already tired of hearing the state of the nation address of Gloria M. Arroyo which is empty. “We have never felt the progress that GMA claims each time she delivers her SONA.”

“We were relocated here more than ten years ago, but even with security of tenure in our lands and homes we still find it difficult to live here because of the absence of decent jobs as well as lack of access to essential services especially water and health,” said Nestor Yranon, chairperson of Lumaban Ka – member organization of NUPCO.
“Worse, the high prices of food particularly rice, as well as oil and electricity push as all the more to our limits. We wanted to have jobs, but there is none. How can we survive with the rising costs of commodities and services with just P100 a day that we earn from vending and driving of pedicabs and tricycles?,” added Yranon.

Yranon explained that their situation is a reflection of a flawed poverty alleviation including housing program of the government. He said that poor people want and need a place in the city, but the essential goods and services as well as decent jobs have to be provided also by the government.

NUPCO asserts that relocation is not enough. The government must make sure that it is truly a RE-SETTLEMENT area for the poor. By “resettlement” it means, the place is livable. “Humane housing and dignified living for the poor must be provided, thus the socio-economic factors have also to be taken into account in any re-settlement program of the government for the poor.”

Some members of Umalab ka-Alab Katipunan, a member of NUPCO, tricycle drivers under Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), and Akbayan were among those who led the community action.

July 26, 2008 Posted by | PRESS RELEASES/STATEMENTS | , , , , , | 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

NUPCO press release: SONA ng MARALITA, HINDI SONA ng MASALITA!

SONA NG MARALITA, HINDI SONA NG MASALITA:
Sa community, HINDI sa Commonwealth!

“The true state of the nation can be seen in the urban poor communities where people live in extreme poverty, without food and decent shelters and where social services cannot be felt” – this was how the coalition of urban poor organizations in the country described the present national situation.

The National Urban Poor Coalition (NUPCO) stressed that the destitute situation of the people in many communities in the country especially in urban centers like Metro Manila is the primary reason why the urban poor groups would rather conduct its SONA in their communities rather than hear the President’s SONA in Commonwealth Avenue.

“In this country, we have no common wealth as almost all goods and services have been privatized leaving the poor with nothing for themselves, not even a humane shelter,” said the urban poor coalition.

The coalition shared the Institute for Popular Democracy’s findings that 2006 data of Urban Asset Reform Program under the Office of the President show that almost 700,000 families remain in the slums and as informal settlers. When GMA took over the presidency in 2001, the slum dwellers especially those in Parola and Baseco, were among the first communities she visited and promised with land for socialized housing. Further, according to the group, in 2004, before the presidential elections, GMA visited these places again and made the same promises, and proclaimed again the lands for the urban poor. “PURO SALITA.”

“However, on July 28, as GMA will report in her SONA how many houses have been built for the poor among other so-called “accomplishments” her administration has, millions of Filipinos are still living under inhumane condition, without decent houses,” said NUPCO. Among them are those promised with land and houses by GMA in 2001 and those who were relocated but who later returned to informal settlements in Metro Manila because “there is nothing there.” NUPCO believes that “the government’s program is flawed in a major way, poor people want and need a place in the city, not at the foothills of Montalban.

“Humane housing, decent jobs, basic services like education, health, water and electricity, and affordable and ample supply of rice are what the Filipinos especially the urban poor need today more than ever. We have been asking for these for so long from the government,” NUPCO reiterated.

NUPCO will hold series of community protest actions beginning today, July 24, until the day of the state of the nation address on July 28 to highlight their demands addressed to GMA.

At 6pm of July 24, the series of community actions will kick off at Parola Compound where a hundred slum dwellers in Parola are expected to gather in front of Gate 20 where they will hold a candlelighting to symbolize 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 will ensue is what they called as noise from empty stomach of the poor.

The residents are 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. NUPCO member organizations Pambansang Katipunan ng Maralitang Pilipino (PKMP) and League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA) shall lead the local protest action in this area.

“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 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, 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 is a coalition of urban poor organizations nationwide. Its advocacy is to fight for HUMANE HOUSING AND DIGNIFIED LIVING FOR THE POOR.

PRESS RELEASE
July 24, 2008

July 24, 2008 Posted by | PRESS RELEASES/STATEMENTS | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urban poor groups to hold SONA in their communities

State of the Nation Address (SONA) NG MARALITANG LUNGSOD

NUPCO shall hold a press conference on July 24, 2008 to announce the series of actions its member organizations will be conducting in their communities in Metro Manila until the day when Gloria Arroyo delivers her State of the Nation Address on July 28.

According to the coalition, the true state of the nation can be seen in their communities where poor people live in extreme poverty, without decent shelters and where social/public services are almost not felt.

The 2005 Asian Development Bank’s figures show that in Manila alone, there are 3.4 million people living in slums. When Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA) took over the presidency in 2001, the slum dwellers especially those in Parola and Baseco, were among the first communities she visited and promised them land and houses. In 2004, before the presidential elections, she visited these places again and made the same promises, and even proclaimed the lands for them.

However, on July 28, as GMA will report in her SONA how many houses have been built for the poor among other so-called “accomplishments” her administration has, millions of Filipinos are still living under inhumane condition including absence of decent housing. In fact, the 2006 data of Urban Asset Reform Program under the Office of the President show that almost 700,000 families remain as informal settlers. Among them are those promised with land by GMA in 2001 and those who were relocated but returned to informal settlements in Metro Manila because of absence of services and economic opportunities in the relocation sites.

This year, from the urban poor sector, NUPCO leaders will give their own “state of the nation address” that will reflect the true plight of the poor. NUPCO will hold series of community protest actions (candlelighting, noise barrage, and programme) beginning July 24 (Thursday) until the day of the state of the nation address on July 28 to highlight their demands addressed to GMA:

MAKATAONG PANINIRAHAN AT PAMUMUHAY, AT DISENTENG TRABAHO SA MARALITA!

July 24, 2008 (Thursday), 6 – 7pm: Gate 20 (near Manila International Container Terminal) Parola, Manila
About 200 slum dwellers/informal settlers are expected to assemble in the area where they will hold a candlelighting and noise barrage for 30 minutes as they will reiterate their call for the implementation and expansion of the coverage of Presidential Proclamations 96 and 571 declaring parcels of land in Parola and Binondo for socialized housing.
Contact person: Von Mesina, NUPCO National Council Member

July 25, 2008 (Friday), 6-7pm – along E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue
About 100 – 200 residents of Damayang Lagi who are among those threatened with eviction due to the high end mixed use development plan for the area will link arms along E. Rodriguez Sr. Church/religious people and human rights activists will join them in the call for ON-SITE DEVELOPMENT, NOT DEMOLITION in the area.
Contact persons: Noel Cano, Umalab Ka and TF-ON SITE leader
Rene Cleopas, NUPCO QC sub-area coordinator

July 26, 2008 (Saturday), 6pm: Zapote corner Camarin, Brgy. 178, Caloocan City
About 100 residents are expected to participate in the candlelighting and noise barrage protest activity to demand security of land/housing tenure for the residents in the area.
Contact person: Nestor, NUPCO National Council Member

July 27, 2008 (Sunday), 6pm: City Square or MC Mall, Tonsuya, Malabon
About 200 residents of Tonsuya, Malabon will assemble in front of City Square/MC Mall where they will hold a candlelighting and noise barrage to raise their call for expropriations proceedings to ensure land for them in Tonsuya.
Contact person: Buboy delos Reyes, NUPCO National Council Member

July 28, 2008 (Monday), 6pm: URBAN POOR’S REACTION TO GMA’S SONA

July 23, 2008 Posted by | ACTIVITIES/ACTIONS | , , , , , , , , | 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

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.

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