DILG chief halts slum demolitions
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo on Friday ordered a halt to the demolition of squatter colonies in Metro Manila pending a review of police and other government policies for informal settlers facing eviction.
“I have directed the NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) to conduct a review of all policies and legal orders regarding cases of demolition,” Robredo said in a statement days after a riot triggered by the demolition of a flea market in Parañaque City left a resident dead and nearly 40 people injured.
“Pending the review, all demolitions are ordered stopped … while we’re not yet clear about all related policies and guidelines on this subject,” Robredo added.
He proposed the holding of a “pre-demolition meeting” between the Philippine National Police, local governments, the National Housing Authority, the affected residents and other stakeholders prior to the execution of any court order authorizing the dismantling of illegal structures.
On Monday, rock-throwing residents of Silverio Compound in Parañaque, backed by militant protesters, clashed with riot police armed with M-16 rifles, in defiance of a court-ordered demolition.
A man died of a gunshot in the head, but an examination by the National Bureau of Investigation indicated that the bullet may have come from a pistol, not from an M-16.
The Parañaque City Police admitted that live ammunition and not rubber bullets were used by its crowd-control team, but maintained that only warning shots were fired and that the violence was started by the residents, some of whom were reportedly also armed.
Robredo also warned residents who, aside from arming themselves with rocks and molotov cocktails, were reportedly preparing to bombard police and demolition crews with bags containing excrement and urine.
“They can be arrested because what they plan will only bring harm and their intentions are not good,” he said.
He said Monday’s bloody incident would have not happened if all concerned parties had met beforehand to discuss the demolition.
“The court order indicated that only 61 families would be covered by the demolition. But it seemed all the 5,000 families in the compound were wrongly informed or misled that they would also be affected,” Robredo said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.