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Arbitrary demolitions denounced

June 20, 2021 Jun I. Legaspi 427 views

DUE to the respective cases of demolition and eviction taking place in Metro Manila and other parts of the country even during the pandemic, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chairperson and CEO Usec. Alvin S. Feliciano warned local government units (LGUs) not providing relocation or financial assistance to informal settler families (ISFs) affected by demolition.

Feliciano said failure to provide relocation or financial assistance by LGUs to families affected by demolition and eviction is contrary to the provisions of Section 28 of Republic Act 7279 or better known as the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992 for a just and humane demolition.

The law clearly states that if the occupants of a lot or land are considered “underprivileged and homeless” who need to be demolished or evicted, it is only appropriate for the LGU to give the affected families the relocation or the provision of financial assistance first before proceeding the demolition. But despite these provisions, there are still LGUs that do not follow the stipulations of the law.

The PCUP is firm and ready to file a lawsuit against the local governments of the city and municipalities not only in the Manila area, but also throughout the country as a warning to them for not complying with the UDHA order as it is stated in the Executive Order No. 152 relating to Section 45 of the UDHA as part of the functions of the PCUP that it has the capacity to file a lawsuit against anyone who violated or violates the provisions set forth in Section 28 of the said law.

According to PCUP Chairman and CEO, Usec. Feliciano, “The PCUP will file appropriate cases against the LGUs that do not provide relocation or financial assistance to the families affected by the demolition and evictions.”

“During the pandemic, the situation of families who have lost their homes is very deplorable, so we are asking the local governments to provide the assistance and subsidies needed by the victims of demolition and eviction,” he added.

Last June 9, residents of Sitio Kawad, Sta. Rosa, Laguna were displaced after the demolition of their households. What is worse is that their LGU has not provided them a relocation.

After the incident, the PCUP immediately sent a letter to the Sheriff and to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to remind them that the demolition was against the law.

According to the report of the PCUP area coordinators who witnessed the incident, more than 100 households were affected by the demolition even though only 62 of them attended the PDC conducted by PCUP and were issued PDC Certificates in 2019 while “there is no pandemic yet”.

PCUP urged the local government of Sta. Rosa, Laguna to demand the provision of relocation or financial assistance to families who have lost their homes during the pandemic.

The PCUP will intensify its monitoring of all demolition and eviction activities in the country to ensure that LGUs comply with the provisions of the law for a just and humane demolition.