Residents of a Parañaque community vowed to defend their homes as City Mayor Florencio “Jun” Bernabe declared that the scheduled demolition will proceed. The possibility of another violent eviction follows the bloody demolition at Silverio compound last Monday in which one resident was killed and scores were arrested. Ramil Asturias, president of the Tucuma Federation, said that “We have lived peacefully here for years but will resist any attempt to forcible evict us from our homes.”
The Tucuma Federation represents some 1,000 families living in the depressed community of Tucuma in Barangay Merville. A hundred Tucuma Federation members rallied at the Parañaque City Hall yesterday in a last-minute appeal but Mayor Bernabe snubbed the call for a dialogue. In news reports, Mayor Bernabe averred that he cannot do anything as it is a court-ordered demolition. After the Tucuma members returned home from the city hall rally, they began preparations for defending their homes against demolition.
“Mayor Bernabe’s character is revealed by his double standard. He says that his hands are tied by the court order for a demolition yet he refuses lift a finger to enforce a city ordinance mandating the expropriation of the disputed land. It is in Mayor Bernabe’s power to set aside the demolition as the affected residents are also the beneficiaries of the expropriation ordinance,” Asturias explained.
The Tucuma Federation is demanding the implementation of City Ordinance 0013 s. 2000 expropriating the disputed land and asking that Mayor Bernabe refile the expropriation case on the property owner. The Molave Development Corp. headed by a certain Cynthia Tinitigan is claiming ownership of the disputed land which is less than one hectare big.
The Tucuma Federation expressed solidarity with the Silverio residents, condemned the deadly force used on Monday’s demolition and demands a moratorium on demolitions. “Heads must roll for the death of one resident from police gunfire and the brutality accompanying the arrest of scores protesters,” asserted Ramil Cangayao, spokesperson of the Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP). The Tucuma Federation is an affiliate of the AMP which is an alliance of urban poor associations in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.
Meanwhile Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa national chair, asserted that “Violent evictions must be prohibited. Land disputes must be resolved through negotiations without the threat of violence, deceit or bribery. Residents must be relocated to better living conditions to ensure that negotiations end peacefully in agreement.” Magtubo explained that one of the demands of the coming Labor Day rally is a moratorium on demolitions.