Local News: Urban Poor Leaders Rue Ejection and Demolition
Leaders of the urban poor group, Kadamay-Negros, Kaisahan or the Confederation of Urban Pooor Alliance (KAISAHAN) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros (BAYAN-Negros), stridently denounced what it said was the action of city government officials in facilitating ejection of members of their fellow sector-members, without any justifiable basis and inspite of incurring a huge debt, in their behalf and using them in the process as a justification.
The leaders of the group Kadamay which was represented by its Vice Chairperson Jane Badayos, Berlita Anto of the Samahan ng Kababaihang Nagkakaisa (SAMAKANA) and Juanito Tanalgo of Kaisahan, hit hard at city government officials for their neglect of the urban poor population and their ejection without any justifiable reason and for not complying with the law before urban poor families are evicted from their present homes.
Due to be evicted in the coming days or following months are urban poor families in Banago, Singcang-Airport-Magsungay area, Tangub and Punta Taytay plus many more, said the leaders.
The eviction of urban poor families in Bacolod City has been a reality and has been undertaken by the courts including the city government, without regard for due process and in violation of a law on ejection and demolition which sets several requisites before landless members of the urban poor’s homes are demolished and occupants removed for settlement elsewhere.
In spite of the fact that the city government took out a loan of P250-M supposedly for relocation and the development of lands brought by it in Purok Tongoy and in Barangay Mandalagan, RS Villa in Brgy. Granada, Arceo in Mansilingan, Maca-wiwili and Purok Langis in Brgy. Banago, Fortune Towne and Purok Arao in Brgy. Estefania and many more in the urbanized communities of Bacolod City, these have not been properly developed for the use instead of the city’s more than 50,000 urban poor population, said the sector’s leaders. Tanalgo also said development should be in place.
Even if one is supposed to spend only P1,000 for requirements in following up relocation offers with the Bacolod City Housing Authority (BHA) they hardly can raise the amount to do so. If every one finally succeeds in being relocated, the most that he or she can avail from the city government is P3,000 in assistance.
There are more than 50,000 squatter-families in the city most of whom have livelihood problems and eke out income by working in unstable jobs such as being trisikad or tricycle drivers, passenger jeepney drivers, as porters in ports and in the city’s public markets, or on jobs which well-heeled sectors in the city shun.
Too, when one proceeds to the city hall to ask for assistance he is looked at with disdain by employees who hardly give him a second look, said Anto.
Tanalgo was more forthright saying that the system of land ownership in the country is a legacy of the country’s feudal past with the country’s first colonizers, the Spaniards.
Leaders of the various urban poor groups also rued the fact that they are merely given importance during elections when their votes are needed, but no real basic services and development is made available to them.
They also said lives of members of the urban poor sector, are miserable and that they could hardly partake of good food three times a day.
The leaders wondered when they could have real development in terms of jobs, livelihood and shelter in the city. It is also true that hundreds of households have been pushed to stay in riverbanks, shorelines, under bridges in their effort to provide some form of shelter for their families.
Hundreds of millions have been dispensed by the city government for relocation projects supposedly, but knowledgeable persons say this is but merely to allow the corrupt to get commissions on the deals.*