MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said Tuesday he will look into the possibility of offering incentives to informants who will identify the members of the so-called professional squatting syndicate.
Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the Philippine National Police distribution of the newly acquired firearms, Roxas said he will discuss the matter with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in order to ascertain the specific points to the term “professional squatters.”
“ . . . ano yung basehan para masabi na ang isang tao ay professional squatter, versus pangkaraniwan na tumitira lamang doon (what will be the basis for identifying a professional squatter against an ordinary family living in slum areas),” Roxas said.
On Monday, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista claimed that informal settlers who opted not to leave Agham Road are being agitated by a syndicate. The group is also making money by asking P1,000 from each family in return for helping them resist demolition of their homes.
Before Bautista issued his statement, violence erupted along Agham Road Monday when about 300 informal settlers set up barricades and started throwing rocks, human feces and glass bottles in a bid to stop a supposed demolition of their houses.
Pillbox and molotov explosives were also hurled by angry residents as they occupied both lanes of the road.
Five police officers—Police Officer 3 Rodolfo Sabucor, PO2 Ruel Larobis, PO2 Ricky Gacelo, PO1 Larry Christ Taguiling and PO1 Nagal Kares—were said to have been injured in the clash.
On Tuesday, Roxas denied a demolition work was scheduled Monday, adding that police officers dispersed the rallyists to open the road to traffic.
“Hindi naman pwede na yung kapakanan o yung tahimik na pamumuhay ng iba ay masagasaan dahil lamang sa nagnanais ang isang grupo na ipaabot ang kanilang hinaing,” Roxas said.
The Quezon City Police District said Tuesday it has filed charges against several people who allegedly initiated the violent clash.
Facing charges of indirect assault, obstruction, and illegal assembly are Estelita Bagaspas, Arnulfo Anoos, Carlito Badios and Josephine Lopez of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap.