Makati locals seek help of court against demolition, warn of another possible scam
Residents of Macda in Brgy. Cembo, Makati trooped to the Court of Appeals (CA) today to ask the tribunal to stop their local government from evicting them this coming October to give way to a fire and a police station in their community.
“We could not help but ask, is this another scam in our city at our expense? How many fire trucks and police cars will they put in a 1.6 hectare land,” lamented Mylene Macalinao, acting president of Kapatirang Mac-Gui-Cem neighborhood association.
Macda is a 1.6 hectare community in Brgy. Cembo, Makati which is home to 858 families or an estimated 4,000 individuals.
According to Macalinao, they filed a petition for prohibition before the CA with prayer for the issuance of preliminary injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), to bar the city government from demolishing homes of their members and evicting them from lots they currently occupy.
“We hope for a speedy and favorable judgement on our case from the Court of Appeals. It has been months that we are struggling to keep secure our homes and livelihoods from being demolished, and we hope that the court will finally put an end to these,” Macalinao said.
Legal claim to the Macda area
Macalinao also asserted that the families under threats of evictions are not to be considered ‘squatters’ or informal settlers, explaining that it was the City of Makati who settled them on the lots they currently occupy. Most of whom were settlers as early as 1988, while the others were relocatees from the Kalayaan C5 road project.
According to Macalinao, the move of the city government to allow them to resettle in the area makes it a de facto socialized housing pursuant to the Urban Development & Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA). In fact, it was the city government who subdivided or “re-blocked” the land into 25 square meters per family way back in early 2000 after a huge fire, stated Macalinao.
“This land should have been developed for socialized housing, as the law mandates. We are not squatters who forcibly, or without permission, occupied this land, and we hope that the law will see us through this very challenging struggle,” she added.
The Macda residents were also lamenting about the city government’s reason for enforcing the clearing.
“We think that displacing thousands of residents, with their livelihoods and the future of their children tied to their current homes, in the guise of building a fire and police is too callous. Also, we are not laying claim to the whole of the 1.6 hectares, we only wish for a portion it for our resettlement,” they said.
‘Not suitable’ off-site relocation
The residents also urged the city government to reconsider its proposal for an off-site relocation to the residents, saying the target area is ‘not suitable nor responsive to their needs.’
Aguado, Trece Martirez, Cavite has been marked as the resettlement area for the displaced Macda residents.
Upon an independent ocular inspection of several officers of MAC-GUI-CEM, they discovered that off-site relocation has severely limited, sometimes lack, of access to basic services such as power and water supply, lack of of income sources or livelihood opportunities and inadequate educational facilities.
“We fear that this kind of environment will be detrimental to the welfare of our families and children,” the residents explained.
In a move to meet the government ‘halfway’, the residents drafted a people’s plan as an alternative to the off-site relocation proposed by the government.
“We have already submitted our proposal to the city government, and we hope that they would seriously consider it,” Macalinao said.
“Our plan proposes for on-site relocation that, we hope, will be integrated to the urban renewal and redevelopment plan of Macda area being crafted by the city government,” she concluded.
September 26, 2014
Ms. MYLENE F. MACALINAO
Samahang Kapatiran Mac-Gui-Cem Association Inc.,
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