In The News
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the eviction notice of the National Housing Authority (NHA) against informal settler families (ISFs) who occupied idle government housing units in Pandi and other areas in Bulacan.
“We strongly support the fight of the Kadamay occupants for their right to shelter,” said Tinio. “They are only some of the 5 million ISFs nationwide who are victims of the dismal state of poverty, joblessness and homelessness in our country. These factors, coupled with government’s failed privatization-led housing program and demolitions of urban poor communities to favor development projects of foreign and local businesses, forced our urban poor to assert their rights by occupying idle housing units.”
“The eviction notice is a narrowly legalistic solution to the underlying problems highlighted by the Occupy Bulacan campaign,” added Castro. “We urge the NHA and the Duterte administration to recognize the right to housing of the Kadamay occupants, begin the process of awarding to them the units instead of evicting them. This way, government can assure them decent housing and at the same time, ensure that the public funds spent building the units are not wasted.”
Citing data from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Castro said that 1,279 cases of demolitions from January 2012 to December 2016 displaced around 250,000 families and 1.2 million individuals.
The solons added that government should also immediately distribute publicly built but idle housing units in other sites nationwide to beneficiaries, especially the urban poor, as a measure to reduce the housing backlog in the country.
Concerned agencies should also provide services like water, sanitation and electricity to idle units, including those in Bulacan. Lastly, the solons warned not to resort to any violent actions against the occupants, whether to evict or harass them, and called for the immediate pull-out of units of the Philippine National Police from the areas. ###
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the continuing harassment and forcible reconcentration of the Armed Forces in the Philippines (AFP) of 200 residents in four sitios in Nasugbu, Batangas.
According to reports, troops herded farmers off their lands and communities to Balagbag Elementary School last March 8. A clash occured between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force, the 59th Infantry Battalion and the 202nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army after two days. The residents were then told to go back to their homes, but the military troops remained in the school.
“We demand the AFP to stop their military operations in communities and endangering civilians. Military units should be accountable for inhuman tactics like the reconcentration of entire communities and encampment of civilian buildings like schools,” Castro said. “These inhuman tactics are violations of international humanitarian laws that cut off the livelihood of the residents and treat civilians as combatants. These harassments in communities must stop at once, along with the all-out war and the illegal arrests and other rights violations against farmers and activists perpetrated under the so-called Oplan Kapayapaan.”
“We call on the military and the Duterte administration to comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),” Tinio said. “There have been too many killings by the state against the poor. The killings and threats against farmers and human rights activists are blatant disrespect for human rights,” Tinio ended.###