[Urgent Appeal] Recent demolition and pending relocation of residents of Radial Road 10 North Bay Boulevard, Navotas City -TFDP

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URGENT APPEAL

July 7, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) Recent demolition and pending relocation of residents of Radial Road 10 North Bay Boulevard, Navotas City

ISSUES: The right to an adequate standard of living; right to adequate housing, right to water

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the recent demolition and pending relocation of residents of Radial Road 10 (R10) North Bay Boulevard, Navotas City.

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CASE DETAILS:

On June 30, 2015 at around 9:00 in the morning, residents of R10 North Bay Boulevard, Navotas City were taken by surprise as teams from the National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Navotas Local Government and the hired demolition group started destroying their houses.

According to Anecita Sison, Secretary of the Purok R10 North Bay Boulevard North Neighborhood Association, Inc. and one of the residents there, a dialogue was set up between NHA, DPWH and the representative residents of R10 last June 1, 2015 regarding the impending demolition and the residents’ request for more time to relocate.  The dialogue ended with an agreement to continue the talks and with no word on the finality of the demolition schedule.

Some of the residents were still sleeping peacefully and others were at work when the demolition team started destroying the houses. Some residents were hurt as they panicked to gather their belongings and hurry out of the way of falling debris. Allegedly, some members of the demolition team stole properties of some of the residents. After the demolition, items like shoes and small things were unaccounted for. One member of the demolition team even allegedly snatched a watch from a resident’s wrist and did not return it.

Residents also reported that some members of the demolition team were violent towards the residents, pushing, threatening to hit and swinging at the pleading residents with their demolition tools such as hammers and crowbars. Items in stores owned by residents were also taken, along with the wood and galvanized iron sheets from their houses. Although the residents have requested for at least their store goods, these were still not returned. Some residents were also allegedly threatened with detention if they did not evacuate the demolition site immediately.

The residents are to be relocated in Pandi, Bulacan, which according to them is far from schools or markets; the temperature is too hot for a comfortable living owing to the large population of previously relocated informal settlers; the drinking water is from a water pump or poso; and the place is unsafe with crimes becoming more rampant recently.

Presently, the residents are staying in makeshift tents along the bridge of R10, which was given as a “staging area” or a temporary place the residents could stay before they are relocated.

CASE BACKGROUND:

The planned road widening project, demolition and relocation was first announced in 2010 and steps were taken immediately the following year. Upon finding that the relocation site was in Pandi, Bulacan, the residents led by the North Bay Boulevard North Neighborhood Association, Inc. drafted a People’s Plan – a proposal for acquiring a land more suitable for the relocation of R10 residents.

Via ocular, the North Bay Boulevard North Neighborhood Association, Inc. found a privately owned land in Norzagaray, Bulacan which is near the highway, schools, market and has electricity and water. The 4.6-hectare land is sufficient space to comfortably house 1,500 families.

Officers of the association held a meeting with the residents to inform them of the plan. The plan was approved by all and negotiations between the association and the owner started. The land is priced 37 million with a down payment of 7 Million. The association also made a way to come up with the money for buying the land. They asked assistance from different government agencies such as National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Department of Interioe and Local Government (DILG), Commission on Human Rights  (CHR), Foundation for the Development of the Urban Poor (FDUP), and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the latter granting loans for buying the proposed land.

SHFC allegedly could loan the residents 450,000 per family granted that they submit all the necessary requirements including the signed approval of the Norzagaray LGU for the relocation of the residents. This document should be a communication between Navotas and Norzagaray LGUs but allegedly, the Navotas LGU has not and continues not to help the residents.

In 2010, the LGU conducted a census tagging to determine the number of families that will be affected by DPWH’s road widening project. Nine hundred (900) families were identified at the time and listed.

The actual demolition happened this year, 2015, where according to Purok R10 North Bay Boulevard North Neighborhood Association, Inc., the last population estimate was 1,500 families. According to the residents, they were informed that the 2010 data would be the one used as basis for the distribution of financial aid. Since the LGU will only recognize the 900 families initially tagged, 600 families or an estimated 3,500 persons will not receive government aid and are at risk of not being recognized as claimants for relocation.

Up until now, the residents still cannot claim the promised aid because of the numerous requirements such as birth certificates of each of the family members, two valid I.D.s, marriage certificate, police clearance, barangay clearance, etc.

The residents complain that they have been passed around from DPWH to NHA to LGU when they sought dialogues and proposed plans for moving the residents.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO BRING TO THEIR KNOWLEDGE THE INJUSTICE SUFFERED BY THE RESIDENTS OF R10 NAVOTAS DURING THE DEMOLITION AND TO ENSURE AND GUARANTEE THAT THEY RECEIVE DUE ASSISTANCE FROM ALL CONCERNED.

Thank you.
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _____________,

Greetings!

This is to express my grave concern regarding the recent demolition and pending relocation of residents of Radial Road 10 North Bay Boulevard, Navotas City.

I have learned that the residents’ houses have been demolished and that they are currently staying in makeshift tents along the bridge of R10 and that that during this demolition, many of the residents allegedly experienced harassment.

I have learned of the residents’ concerns regarding the planned relocation area in Pandi, Bulacan and their efforts to find a more suitable replacement which is safer, and would have all the means for comfortable and healthy living.

I have also learned that the community’s initiative in acquiring their proposed relocation area has been taken lightly and that they have not been given proper assistance despite their efforts to have dialogues and to work with different concerned agencies.

I am writing to ask for immediate action in favor of the residents of the Radial Road 10 North Bay Boulevard, Navotas City:

1.            For the security and safety of the residents.

2.            For the immediate and impartial investigation on the alleged harassments experienced by the residents under the demolition team.

3.            For the residents be given proper assistance in their initiative (People’s Plan).

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

_______________________

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

1.      His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace, JP Laurel Street,
San Miguel, Manila1005 Philippines
Tel: +6327356201/5641451 to 80
Email: corres@op.gov.ph/opnet@ops.gov.ph

2.      Secretary Rogelio L. Singson
Department of Public Works and Highways
Bonifacio Drive Port Area, Manila, Philippines
Tel.:+632-304-3300
Email: singson.rogelio@dpwh.gov.ph

3.      Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II
Department of Interior and Local Government
EDSA corner, Quezon Avenue, Diliman,
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: 925-0030; 925-0331; 925-0332 Fax
Email: mar@marroxas.com

4.      General Manager Atty. Chito M. Cruz
National Housing Authority
Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines
Tel.: 921-7828; 922-2460; 9222058 Fax

5.      Secretary Jose Eliseo M. Rocamora
National Anti-Poverty Commission
Water System Training Center,
Local Water Utilities Administration,
MWSS-LWUA Complex, Katipunan Avenue,
Quezon City 1105 Philippines
Tel.: 927-9816 / 426-3652 / 426-5249 (telefax) Local Lines: 127 / 148 / 141
Email: info@napc.gov.ph

6.      Chairman/CEO Hon. HERNANI B. PANGANIBAN
Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor
4th floor, DHC Bldg. 1115 EDSA,
Project 7, Quezon City
1105 Philippines
Telefax:  (02) 410-46-91

7.      Mayor John Reynald M. Tiangco
LOCAL GOVERNMENT NAVOTAS
Tel.: (632)281-8602; 281-8861 F
Email: http://www.navotas.gov.ph

8.       Mayor Alfredo DG. Germar
LOCAL GOVERNMENT NORZAGARAY, BULACAN
Municipal Government of Norzagaray, Bulacan
Norzagaray, Bulacan 3013 Philippines
Tel.: +63(44) 694-7950

9.      Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue,
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City,
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

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