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Urban poor group labels Aquino ‘Demolition King’

/ 04:09 PM July 23, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Demolition king. That’s the tag a militant organization has given  President Benigno Aquino  a few days before he delivers his second State of the Nation Address in Quezon City.

The label, Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon said in a statement, was in keeping with the President’s alleged penchant for “neoliberal policies” that are detrimental to the interests of squatters or informal settlers.

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In his first year in office alone, the AKD said it has recorded not less than 35,000 individuals who have been evicted from their houses in “violent demolitions.”

“Aquino’s sole agenda for the urban poor is demolition and eviction from their communities,” Estrelieta Bagasbas, AKD national spokesperson, said.

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Bagasbas said that the “violent confrontations” were merely an implication of the present administration’s public-private partnership programs, or PPP, which the President himself announced as one of his priority projects when he assumed office a year ago.

Under the PPP, funding for a business venture or a government service is undertaken by a partnership between the government and one or more private-sector companies.

“Aquino’s public-private partnership… gives way to development projects that favor big foreign and local businesses,” Bagasbas said.

Although relocation sites nationwide are identified for the displaced families, she said that the government still does not made good on its promises of livelihood for the people once they have transferred.

This is one of the reasons why many who agree to relocate eventually go back to the places where they were driven away from in the first place, Bagasbas said.

She cited as an example the case of some 2,000 residents in North Triangle in Quezon City, who transferred to relocation sites in Montalban in Rizal only to find that there were no jobs available for them there.

The relocation took place after demolition operations in seven communities of urban poor settlers took place last year to pave the way for a business district.

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“Of the 5,000 residents who transferred… almost half went back to North Triangle and sold their housing units. Most complained (of) the lack of livelihood” in the area, Bagasbas said.

Aside from this, Bagasbas noted the “fascist treatment” of residents of Corazon de Jesus in San Juan City and Soliman in Davao City.

“Where is the place of urban poor in Aquino’s development program?” Bagasbas asked.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino, Government, Housing, news, Poverty, slum dwellers, SONA 2011, squatter
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