Wednesday, October 05, 2005

NR1005:Govt lying about smooth PNR demolition, relocation operations

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 5, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Gov’t demolition and relocation operations connected to NorthRail Project chaotic and violent; Residents say there will be bloodshed if gov’t continues project

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today slammed the Macapagal-Arroyo government for what he termed as ‘its countless lies’ regarding the construction of the Northrail which spans from Caloocan City to Malolos Bulacan. He said that Press Secretary Ignaico Bunye’s recent statement that the demolition of houses and the relocation of residents are going smoothly.

“Bunye is a liar, and so is every other government official who says that there are only little problems surrounding the Northrail Project,” he said. “Up to this very moment, thousands of Filipinos and their families are living like war refugees with no hope of recovery.” Beltran yesterday filed House Resolution 972 calling for investigations into the violence and chaos that has erupted during the demolition operations, calling attention in particular to Vice-president P Noli de Castro’s accountability as head of demolition and relocation operations.

Beltran said that the residents hold both de Castro and Macapagal-Arroyo for the violent demolitions and all the anomalies and irregularities behind the relocation projects. “De Castro, in particular is the one directly supervising the clearing and relocation operations for the PNR Modernization Project. He the main official to blame should there be bloodshed in the communities. The Vice President allegedly threatened the police that failure to thwart any and all opposition from residents to have their houses demolished would lead to the police officers’ deployment to Mindanao,” he said.

Beltran cited reports that at least 40,000 families whose homes are under threat of being demolished because of Northrail rehabilitation project. The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) estimates that the government needs to shell out at least P6.6 billion in resettlement costs, the source of which is yet to be identified. The HUDCC targets to finish demolitions by the end of October 2005.

“Government reports that 7,297 families from Metro Manila and 1,401 from Bulacan have already been relocated, but there is nothing being said about the appalling situation in the relocation sites. Evicted families, in not a few cases, moved out of their resettlement sites as these are unaffordable to the poor and lack basic facilities such as water supply, electricity, drainage and sewerage systems and health centers and schools, as well as job opportunities. It’s like living in a prison without walls,” he said.

“The makeshift houses are made of cheap and flimsy construction materials, and the measly funds the government has given for each relocate is far from being enough to build real shelters.”

Beltran said that those in relocation sites such as Bignay in Valenzuela and Lambakin in Marilao are getting 32-square meter-lots for P100,000 payable in 25 years. The relocation site in Lambakin is a nine-hectare land where Marilao railway dwellers are being forced to move despite their preferred site in Loma de Gato, which already met NHA standards.

“It’s a chaotic, inefficient operation the government is running here, and its should be fully exposed. While the National Housing Authority boasts of the achievements of its North Rail relocation program, evicted families and NGOs working with them say that the government resettlement program is beset with corruption and is bogged down by disputes among local officials, residents and the NHA,” he said.

“It is for these reasons that residents of Bulacan recently reaffirmed their determination to defend their homes along the railway tracks. They reiterated that there would be bloodshed if the government led by Mrs. Arroyo and the vice-president would push through with the project.”

Beltran said that on September 21, 2005, seven people were seriously injured and scores others were hurt when the demolition team attempted to demolish small commercial establishments located along McArthur Highway onwards to SM Marilao. The demolition crew armed with crowbars, steel mallets and other implements attacked residents who dared defend their homes by forming barricades.

The seven civilians who were hit by crowbars and mallets in the head, arms, chest, shoulders and legs were: Lily Duque, 43, a washerwoman; Lorna Rodriguez, 45, street eatery vendor; Alan Moises, 48, laborer; Rodolfo Milan, 48, unemployed; Roberto Cayabyab, 48, paints store owner; Ariel Punzalan, 35, butcher assistant; and Romeo Concepcion, unemployed. They were rushed to Christ the King Clinic in Meycauayan by their neighbors.#


Post a Comment

<< Home