Informal Settlers’ Confederation Condemns the Violent Demolition in Silverio Compound; Calls for Moratorium on Demolitions

The Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO-APL-SENTRO), condemns in the strongest possible way the violent demolition of informal settlers in Silverio Compound in Parañaque last 23 April 2012.

“The violence, the injuries of scores of people and the death of a resident can all be blamed on the ineptitude and the insensitivity of the Parañaque local government and the police forces who are supposed to keep the peace,” Fatima Cabanag, KAMAO Secretary General said.

“For ignoring our long standing demand for the issuance of an executive order calling for a moratorium on demolition, the president, Noynoy Aquino, should also be held responsible for this despicable act,” Cabanag added.

Even as they condemned the local government and the police, KAMAO calls for an impartial investigation to ensure that those who are responsible are exposed and held to account for their crimes.

“We stand by the informal settlers. They are well within their rights to defend their homes and fight for a decent and adequate housing,” Cabanag said. The right to housing is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which the country is a signatory.

“A mere court order could not legitimize an immoral and illegal act – the demolition of informal settlers’ houses without adequate relocation,” Cabanag said. The Urban Development Housing Act of 1992 explicitly states that, there should be no demolition without relocation.

“Informal settlers are the victims of the government’s inability to live up to its responsibility to provide socialized housing. So why blame the informal settlers?” Cabanag emphatically said.

Cabanag explained that for more than a decade, local governments have yet to comply with an UDHA provision to hold an inventory of available land and to distribute the same to the urban poor.

“Even the national government has been remiss in its obligation to provide proper relocation to informal settlers,” Cabanag lamented. “Our own investigation in Towerville in Bulacan shows that the houses provided to the poor, if you can call it that, are dangerously substandard and are devoid of the necessary facilities,” she added. Towerville is a massive relocation site where many of the victims of Ondoy have been relocated.

“Enough of these violent demolitions! Issue a moratorium on demolition now!,” Cabanag declared.

KAMAO is a member of SENTRO. At least 1,000 KAMAO members will march with SENTRO and link arms with NAGKAISA! on May 1.

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