PHILIPPINES: Taguig Mayor refuses to assist Laguna Lakeshore victims

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – HUNGER ALERTS PROGRAMME
Hunger Alert Update: AHRC-HAU-003-2015
14 May 2015

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[RE: AHRC-HAU-002-2015: PHILIPPINES: Authorities continue demolition drive against Laguna Lakeshore Community
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PHILIPPINES: Taguig Mayor refuses to assist Laguna Lakeshore victims
ISSUES: Right to food; inhuman and degrading treatment; hunger; land rights, police violence, right to food, rule of law
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Dear Friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from Defend Job Philippines about the ongoing demolition and evictions targeting the urban poor community of the Laguna Lakeshore area of Taguig City. After demolishing the houses of community members living in C6 Road, Barangay Napindan, on 30 April 2015 and afterwards, the City Mayor has refused them any assistance barring the one under balik prubinsya (transport assistance to return to the provinces) programme. The AHRC expresses its strong dismay over the development and urges the city government to assist, compensate, and rehabilitate the victims of the demolition drive.
UPDATED INFORMATION:
After forcibly demolishing the houses of urban poor communities residing in the Laguna Lakeshore area, the city government has refused them any assistance but the one under the balik prubinsya (transport assistance to return to the provinces) programme. City Mayor Lani Cayetano said the same when speaking to the victims that finally managed to get an audience with her after having been repeatedly denied the same. It is only by attending the flag raising ceremony that they were able to get near the mayor and finally meet with her.
The City Mayor, however, was completely dismissive of their demands and asserted that the government had no programmes for helping the affected people barring balik prubinsya. She further told them that they were not qualified for the National Housing Authority Program. When asked about the education of their children, the Mayor told them that it was their problem.
She also warned them that the demolition drive would continue till all the houses along the C6 road were demolished. She, in fact, blamed the victims for inviting the drive by building houses on government property, disregarding the circumstances in which urban poor get compelled to do the same. She also told them that the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) would keep guarding their makeshift tents and would not let them squat for long.
As the AHRC has reported in its previous hunger alert case, the City authorities began the drive, serving a notice of self-eviction/demolition to the families, on 17 March 2015, and forcibly demolished a few houses on 19 March 2015. The authorities also confiscated whatever little personal belongings the households had such as kitchen utensils, blankets, papaya trees, wood, lumber, and padlocks.
The AHRC had also reported, in a hunger alert update, how the City government had, after sitting quiet for a while, restarted the drive against the Community on 30 April 2015. POSO personnel then took over the job of clearing the demolition sites from 1 to 7 May 2015.
The demolitions have affected more than 130 families from seven barangay of Laguna Lakeshore Community in Taguig, namely Barangay Napindan, Calsada, Hagonoy, Ibayo-Tipas, and New Lower and Lower Bicutan. The families affected by the drives took shelter in the covered court of Barangay Calsada from 30 April to 2 May 2015. They have been provided with limited food packets and nine pieces of mattresses by local government representatives but nothing else. They were later asked to leave and were not allowed to stay in that place anymore.
Left with no option, the families are living in the makeshift tents in adjoining areas. The AHRC has learned that, as of now, the families have no food to eat and no water to drink. Further, POSO personnel are guarding them 24/7 and confiscating their remaining belongings.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Under the Public Private Partnership Program of President Aquino, the construction of C6 Road is part of the Laguna Lake Development Project, which also includes massive reclamation of lakewaters, construction of a road, dike, Taguig Lakeshore Project, resorts, restaurants, mall, condominiums, and business establishments. The project is the biggest PPP project worth P 123 billion. Giant businessmen are investing in these PPP projects headed by multinational corporations and big banks such as the Asian Development Bank, Dutch Pension Fund, and Macquarie, with local counterparts – Henry Sy of SMDC, Ayala of Ayala Land, Manny Pangilinan of Metro Pacific Group, and Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporations.
SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please express your concern and anger against the ongoing demolition drive and serious violation of the human rights of community members.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, and on the Right to Non-Discrimination, seeking her intervention.
SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear ………………….,
PHILIPPINES: Authorities continue demolition drive against Laguna Lakeshore Community

Name of the Victims: 130 Families of Laguna Lakeshore area
Date and Time of Incident: Ongoing since 19 March, 2015
Place of Incident: Taguig City, The Philippines

I am writing to you to voice my grave concerns over continuing harassment of the urban poor families living in the Laguna Lakeshore area of the Taguig city. After forcibly demolishing the houses of urban poor communities residing in the Laguna Lakeshore area, the city government has refused them any assistance but the one under the balik prubinsya (transport assistance to return to the provinces) programme. City Mayor Lani Cayetano said the same when speaking to the victims that finally managed to get an audience with her after having been repeatedly denied the same. It is only by attending the flag raising ceremony that they were able to get near the mayor and finally meet with her.
The City Mayor, however, was completely dismissive of their demands and asserted that the government had no programmes for helping the affected people barring balik prubinsya. She further told them that they were not qualified for the National Housing Authority Program. When asked about the education of their children, the Mayor told them that it was their problem.
She also warned them that the demolition drive would continue till all the houses along the C6 road were demolished. She, in fact, blamed the victims for inviting the drive by building houses on government property, disregarding the circumstances in which urban poor get compelled to do the same. She also told them that the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) would keep guarding their makeshift tents and would not let them squat for long.
As the AHRC has reported in its previous hunger alert case, the City authorities began the drive, serving a notice of self-eviction/demolition to the families, on 17 March 2015, and forcibly demolished a few houses on 19 March 2015. The authorities also confiscated whatever little personal belongings the households had such as kitchen utensils, blankets, papaya trees, wood, lumber, and padlocks.
The AHRC had also reported, in a hunger alert update, how the City government had, after sitting quiet for a while, restarted the drive against the Community on 30 April 2015. POSO personnel then took over the job of clearing the demolition sites from 1 to 7 May 2015.
The demolitions have affected more than 130 families from seven barangay of Laguna Lakeshore Community in Taguig, namely Barangay Napindan, Calsada, Hagonoy, Ibayo-Tipas, and New Lower and Lower Bicutan. The families affected by the drives took shelter in the covered court of Barangay Calsada from 30 April to 2 May 2015. They have been provided with limited food packets and nine pieces of mattresses by local government representatives but nothing else. They were later asked to leave and were not allowed to stay in that place anymore.
Left with no option, the families are living in the makeshift tents in adjoining areas.
The AHRC has learned that, as of now, the families have no food to eat and no water to drink. Further, POSO personnel are guarding them 24/7 and confiscating their remaining belongings.
I, therefore, reiterate my requests and urge you to ensure that:
1. The affected families are provided with decent and adequate housing that is not located far from their source of livelihood, place of children’s education, and social services;
2. Adequate compensation for all belongings and properties destroyed and/or confiscated during the demolition drive is given to the families;
3. The families are provided with enough financial and material assistance for their rehabilitation as well as for immediate needs such as food, water, medicine, and clothing;
4. The personnel responsible for physical attacks on Almaro Almeni, 60 years, and Mr. Rodrigo Domopog, are identified and prosecuted.
Yours Sincerely.
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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
EMAIL: op@president.gov.ph
2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
EMAIL: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com
3. Corazon Juliano-Soliman
Secretary, Department of Social, Welfare and Development
Constitution Hills, Batasan Pambansa Complex,
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 (2) 931-81-91
4.Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Office: Rm. 505 & 18 GSIS Bldg,
Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 552-6684
EMAIL: pia@senatorpiacayetano.com
5. Jaime E. Varela – Executive Assistant
Philippine Commission of Urban Poor
Office of the Chairman
Addr: 4th floor, DHC Bldg. 1115 EDSA,
Project 7, 1105 Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 410-46-91
EMAIL: jaimevarela1015@yahoo.com
6. Mayor Lani Cayetano
57 General Luna Street
Brgy. Tuktukan
1637, Taguig
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +632 6423588

EMAIL: pio@taguig.gov.ph

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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