Housing secretary favors temporary ban on demolition during pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is in favor of allowing a temporary ban of demolition activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a House hearing on Friday on the department’s proposed budget for 2022, Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said he agrees with the recommendation of Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas for a moratorium on demolition activities.
“I support the recommendation of the honorable congresswoman that we can have a moratorium during this pandemic,” Del Rosario said.
In March, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in a memorandum circular, lifted its previous memorandum issued in April 2020 where it banned demolition and eviction activities due to the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine and state of national emergency.
However, Brosas said demolition activities should still be postponed considering that the pandemic is not yet over.
“Does the NHA (National Housing Authority) agree that demolition activities should be postponed amid the pandemic? Kasi pandemya pa po ngayon eh (It is still pandemic now),” she said in her interpellation.
“How can the people stay at home if the government keeps on demolishing homes to make way for big developers who wish to make money from public housing?” she added.
Brosas noted that eviction activities had been reported in Tondo, Parañaque, Bulacan, and Cavite, affecting hundreds of families despite the ongoing pandemic.
While the DHSUD agreed that there should be a demolition moratorium, Brosas said that the housing department, in coordination with DILG, should put it into writing and release a memorandum.
“Kung seryoso talaga ang gobyernong ito na dapat walang demolisyon lalo na sa gitna ng krisis, dapat pormal na mag-release ng memorandum order dahil patuloy pa rin ang pagpapaalis libo-libong residente ng Tondo at iba pang lugar sa NCR,” she said.
(If the government is serious in not allowing demolition in the middle of a crisis, there should be a formal release of a memorandum order because many are still being forced to leave in Tondo and other places in NCR.)
Gabriela Women’s Party has filed House Joint Resolution No. 36, directing agencies to impose a moratorium on all demolition and eviction activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Brosas.
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