UP-ALL : Urban Poor Alliance (Pilipinas)

Online Space for Housing and Land Rights Advocates

Position Paper on the latest EO on MMIAC

Posted by urbanpooralliance on August 14, 2008

Task Force Anti-eviction

25A Mabuhay Street , Brgy. Central, Quezon City 1100, Philippines

Tels. (+632) 426-4119 – 426-7615 Telefax (+632) 426-4118

Email upa@pldtdsl.net

WE Reject the Executive Order on the MMIAC

if Headed by MMDA/Bayani Fernando

Urban poor people often term Bayani Fernando (BF) as “berdugo” of the urban poor. He has merited this title because he uses force and intimidation in dealing with the urban poor. He treats the poor as garbage, nuisances and eye sores, and evicts them summarily with total disregard for their rights in the most inhumane manner and contrary to the provisions of the law.

Recently, the Commission on Human Rights issued an “Advisory on the Conduct of Forced Evictions and House Demolitions”. In this document, Chairperson Leila M. de Lima mentions several instances where MMDA/BF demolished the homes and houses of the urban poor without due notice and without providing for relocation. What this document mentions are only a few of the hundreds of cases where MMDA demolished the dwellings of the poor and threw them into to the streets with their personal belongings. The poor (including children and elders), the victims of MMDA/BF’s brutality, are still suffering from his abusive acts which strip the poor of their dignity and humanity. BF listens to no one, not even the duly elected senators of the Republic of the Philippines .

So MMDA/BF’s history in dealing with the urban poor renders him unfit to lead or head the MMIAC as provided by the Executive Order.

We see no reason why MMDA itself should be a member of this MMIAC.

(1) We wish to give the President a chance to address the issues concerning the urban poor as envisioned by the Executive Order. As an alternative to BF and the MMDA the HUDCC-NHA should be named as the lead agency.

(2) The urban poor people should be allowed to have two representatives on the MMIAC. One representing families/communities affected by government infrastructure projects and the other one representing families living in danger areas. Also, poor people whose cases are being discussed at any meeting should be invited and allowed to speak.

(3) In general, the E.O. sidelines the LGUs. They should be included as members of the MMIAC Oversight Committee. They should be made more active and responsible stakeholders and implementers in the proposed Comprehensive Shelter Program. The tone of the E.O. should be to assist and enable the LGUs rather than to take over the role of the LGUs.

(4) It seems more logical and effective for the LGUs to conduct the registration of informal settlers, with the assistance and supervision of the MMIAC through the PCUP, instead of the PCUP doing it “in coordination with the LGUs”. The implementing guidelines and procedures should be issued by the MMIAC headed by NHA.

(5) The E.O. should provide for an arbitration and grievance mechanism by which informal settlers who are disqualified may appeal their case. The mechanism should be able to accept, process and resolve grievances related to qualifying beneficiaries and other issues related to the implementation of the Executive Order.

(6) As the EO states there is need of accurate data on the urban poor, on available land for relocation and in-city upgrading, and other matters.

As a matter separate from the E.O. there is also a need for a more fundamental urban development plan for all of Metro Manila that will provide the general guidelines for the development of the region so it will serve the common good.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has suggested this in two past letters in 1997 and 2007. In the 2007 Statement on the Nation’s Housing Problem the bishops wrote:

“As we did in our 1997 Letter on Homelessness, we again urge the immediate creation of a government-church-civil society commission that will provide guidelines for the further development of our cities so that the urban poor will have a decent place to live in and development will combine with sound environmental concern. Planning of mass housing for the poor is a concern of public officials for the sake of the common good, and not only of property developers for their own profit.”

Metro Manila is the only major city in Asia without a centralized authority or plan.

The bishops begin their letter with a quote from the Pope’s Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission that should provide the proper point of view on urban poor housing matters:

“Any person or family that, without any direct fault on his or her own,

does not have suitable housing is the victim of an injustice.” (1988)

(7) There are at present 2,140 families who have been evicted, but have not been relocated. They lived in 14 areas (See attached sheet). They live now in makeshift huts in the streets along the banks of canals and in other unfit places. The first order of business should be to relocate them to the Home Guaranty Corporation land in Montalban which has 3,380 available lots in Jovil I, II, III annex and Rodriguez Hills. All the families want to go there. There is abundant available land in Montalban.

(8) E.O. should include a directive calling for a moratorium until the E.O. provisions are in place.

The NGO Community

Urban Poor Associates ( UPA )

Community Organizers Multiversity (COM)

Community Organization of the Philippines Enterprise (COPE)

St. Thomas More Law Center

John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI)

Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panlegal (SALIGAN)

Partnership of Philippine Support Agency (PHILSSA)

Foundation for the Development of the Urban Poor (FDUP)

By:

(Sgd) Teodoro R. Añana

NGO Representative to the MMIAC

——————————————————————-

Urban Poor Associates ( UPA )

25A Mabuhay Street , Brgy. Central, Quezon City , PH

Tels (632) 426-4119/7615

Telefax (632) 426-4118

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