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San Juan solon, residents clash on FB

/ 12:55 AM January 11, 2012

Activists and residents opposed to the construction of the new San Juan City Hall and the demolition of houses in Barangay (village) Corazon de Jesus—an area beside the Pinaglabanan Shrine—have brought their campaign to the social networking site Facebook.

The residents of the affected barangay who formed a group called Sandigang Maralitang Nagkakaisa earlier posted messages on the wall of San Juan Representative JV Ejercito’s Facebook account, asking him to leave their houses alone.

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The posts later led to exchanges between Ejercito and the protesters.

With the Twitter hashtag “not fun in San Juan,” a parody of the Department of Tourism’s new slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” the group also posted pictures and videos of violent clashes between residents and members of the demolition team that took place in 2010 and last year.

Ejercito was mayor of San Juan when the plan to construct a new city hall and a government center on a portion of the 1.6-hectare property beside the Pinaglabanan Shrine was conceptualized.

“As stated before, the long term plan of the city government is to come up with in-city housing units for the employees and informal settlers. But how can we achieve this goal if we do not temporarily relocate the informal settlers?” was one of Ejercito’s replies to the messages posted on his wall.

In another post, he said that once the new city hall has been built, the San Juan government will prioritize housing for poor residents in the next years.

“We are determined to uplift the lives of poor residents by giving them decent homes. And the activists keep on saying we are the enemies of the poor? Just wondering who is really determined to change the quality of life of the urban poor?” another one of his replies went.

The residents, however, said that the plan to build in-city relocation sites had been raised during his father’s term as city mayor.

“Four decades have gone and passed and yet there is still no decent relocation site in the city for the informal settlers,” the group said.

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TAGS: demolition, Facebook, JV Ejercito, Philippines – Metro, San Juan City, Sandigang Maralitang Nagkakaisa, Social networking
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