NBP residents ask gov’t for affordable housing
MANILA, Philippines — Residents living around the premises of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) are calling on the government of Muntinlupa to provide them with affordable housing as they fear displacement over projects that are supposedly part of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Bella Diaz, president of the Kalipunan ng Mamamayan na Pinagkaisa sa NBP, Inc. (Kampina), decried the government’s move to force residents out of their homes to make way for mixed-use projects on NBP’s 366.7 hectares of land.
“Ang panawagan nga namin, ipamigay ang lupa. Kung walang libre po, abot kaya na pabahay po ang aming pinagkakaisahan,” Diaz told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview on Sunday. “Pinagkasunduan namin, nagkaisa kami na pupunta kami sa mayor namin para tulungan kami na bigyan kami ng facilities din dito sa lupa ng NBP dahil napakalawak po.”
[Our call is for land to be given to us. If it can’t be for free, then we’ve agreed to go for affordable housing. We agreed that we will go to our mayor to ask him to help us get facilities here on NBP land which is so big.]
In a letter dated March 5, 2019, issued by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), NBP residents were given 15 days to vacate their houses as they were said to have been occupying government property.
“The New Bilibid Prison Reservation is a public place and danger area because convicted felons are found in the prison reservation,” the letter read. “Thus, we demand you vacate the premises within 15 days from receipt hereof; otherwise, we will be constrained to evict you from your house to protect the interest of the government.”
However, Diaz said that residents have yet to vacate their homes.
“Naka-stay pa yung mga tao po, kasi sabi natin, wag tayong umalis,” she said.
She added that the BuCor supposedly had cut off the water and electricity in the area to allegedly drive away the residents.
“Nagiikot na po, ma’am, ang mga taga-BuCor, na talagang paalisin na raw ang lahat ng nakatira sa loob ng NBP reservation. Tinanggalan na po ng tubig, pati kuryente po,” Diaz said.
She noted that employees from BuCor have told them that due to Build, Build, Build projects to be constructed on the NBP land, residents would need to leave the area.
“Ang sabi ng taga-BuCor…na yang proyekto na yan, yan yung ano proyekto ni Presidente na Build, Build, Build, kaya kailangan, aalisin na raw ang mga nakatira sa NBP,” she said.
[BuCor told us that, because of the Build, Build, Build project of the government they will have to remove those living at NBP.]
“Pero ang hiling namin po — kasi malawak yung lupa ng NBP, meron diyan 70 hectares, may 90, may 44, may 22 hectares — ang gusto namin bibigyan kami ng titirhan namin sa lupang ito, kasi nakatiwangwang, ma’am, kaysa ipamigay o ibenta sa dayuhan,” she added.
[The NBP land is very big, some measuring 70 hectares, some 90 hectares, some 44 hectares, some 22 hectares. What we want is to be given some land where we can live because the land is idle. And it’s better than just giving it or selling it to foreigners.]
Diaz said that with this move would displace an estimated 10,000 NBP residents, with some who had lived in the area for more than 30 years.
On Monday, Kampina will lead 600 NBP residents in a march from the NBP gate to the Muntinlupa City Hall to hold a picket and engage in a dialogue with local officials to slam the NBP Master Development Plan, which aims to privatize the NBP for mixed-use projects on its land.
“Due to the project, thousands of NBP residents are now facing threats of demolition particularly in Makabuhay, Mapalad, Magnetic, Magdaong, Promise Land and Old Compound areas,” Kampina said. /atm
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