April 24, 2012
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio condemns the brutal expulsion of the residents of Silverio Compound, Paranaque. The violent dispersal resulted in one fatality, several injuries and damage to some properties.
The local government’s demolition team, backed by armed policemen were barred by the residents from entering and destroying what has been the Silverio Compound residents’ home for years now. The tension between the demolition team and the residents of the area resulted in a violent exchange of rocks and blows. As the residents fought for their homes, their families and their livelihood, the police and the demolition team responded with excessive beatings and even resorted to the throwing of tear gas.
Arnel Leonor Tolentino, a resident of Silverio, died of a gunshot wound to the head as confirmed by Philippine Red Cross Secretary- General Gwendolyn Pang. Witnesses say that Tolentino was not part of the protest and was only an onlooker. Residents, including minors, were injured as policemen used truncheons and guns against the protesters, as videos clearly show on national television. Some of the residents were also arrested for police investigation. The police continued to hit even those who were already handcuffed. Members of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) were also spotted by the residents meandering around the area..
ACT Teachers Party-list, together with other members of the MAKABAYAN Coalition in the House of Representatives, filed House Resolution No. 2072 to investigate the brutal dispersal of the residents of Pinaglabanan, San Juan. The Resolution stressed that rules and regulations must be followed by the police and other entities conducting the demolition. Rules must be followed prior to the conduct of the demolition, rules of engagement and criminal, administrative, or civil liabilities for violations of the same. The progressive solons called for an moratorium on all demolitions and the implementation of a comprehensive social housing and livelihood program for the poor.
“There must be an independent investigation to identify those accountable for any excesses against the Residents of the Silverio Compound. The manner in which the police and the demolition team dispersed the residents clearly violates the general rules governing police response during protest actions, prohibiting the police from carrying guns and other weapons other that riot sticks and helmets,” Rep. Tinio said.
Although Henry Sy denies any connection to the property in question, residents insist that nobody, not even a business magnate can rightfully claim the land where their houses are built because they have already been awarded titles under the Community Mortgage Program under the Local Government Unit dating back to the administration of Mayor Joey Marquez. This means that the residents of the community have been paying for their lots for years, entitling them to the ownership of the land.
“The government turn a deaf ear to the poor people but easily accommodate the whims of personages of big corporations. The Urban Development Housing Act (UDHA) has many policies that are not favorable to the majority of the Filipino people. Our people are being “squatters” in our own country. The local government of Paranaque, like the current Aquino administration must prioritize its citizens, its toiling masses and not those who are after profit and personal interests only.”Rep. Tinio concluded.