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Informal settlers protest impending demolition at Quezon City Hall

/ 05:33 PM April 10, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Irate informal settlers on Tuesday stormed the Quezon City Hall to protest the impending demolition of their shanties this week to give way to Quezon City’s own swank business center.

Residents of the slums along BIR Road and Edsa vowed to barricade their homes against the demolition teams even if it means being on alert every single day.

“We have put up barricades to block those who will tear down houses. We are ready every day for them,” said Val Jayson Dimayuga, media liaison officer of the Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon.

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Five residents were injured in Tuesday morning’s scuffle with authorities at the City Hall compound.

Different estimates from the protesters and the Department of Public Order and Safety placed the number of ralliers at between 100 and 300.

DPOS chief Elmo San Diego said the authorities were able to disperse the angry crowd before they could actually enter the main City Hall building.

“We were able to block them and they left soon after their program,” San Diego said.

The residents were mostly from Barangay Pinyahan along NIA Road, Barangay Bagong Pagasa on BIR Road and Sitio San Roque along Edsa.

The protesters wanted an audience with Mayor Herbert Bautista or the secretary to the mayor, Tadeo Palma, over the Central Business District Ordinance recently passed by the City Council.

Bautista has yet to sign the measure to officially make it a local law, paving the way for the classification of 250.6 hectares of prime property for the new business hub.

The new business district will consist of portions of North Triangle, East Triangle and Veterans Memorial Medical Center. It is bounded by EDSA, North and East Avenues, and Elliptical Road.

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The ambitious project has been met with vehement opposition from the squatters living in the area, who were given warnings about the demolition after the Holy Week.

“We believe that the CBD will not benefit the Quezon City residents at all,” Dimayuga said.

He added the residents were given a respite during the Lenten break for them to voluntarily take down their homes and move to designated relocation sites in Bulacan and Rizal provinces.

“No one dismantled their homes and we are prepared to face off with the demolition team at the barricades,” he added.

In September 2010, several persons were injured when residents fought back teams attempting to destroy shanties along BIR Road, prompting President Aquino to order a  moratorium on the demolition.

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TAGS: Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon, BIR Road, demolition, Edsa, informal settlers, Quezon City Hall, squatters
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