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Suit Against Laperal Victims Sidetracks the Rights Violations Issue
Press Release Posted on May 3rd, 2011.
“The suit filed against the alleged squatting ring in Laperal Compound is clearly a ploy to sidetrack the issue on the recent violation of rights of the Laperal residents. It exposes the Makati government’s failure to face the problems of urban housing with a rights-based perspective,” GWP Rep. Emmi De Jesus opined on Makati Mayor Binay’s declaraction that cases will be filed against some residents of Guadalupe Viejo.
Rep. Emmi De Jesus, 0917-3221203
Rowena Festin-Valerio, 0915-6349308
“In declaring their residences a hazard zone, Mayor Binay obfuscates his office’s culpability in this situation, as one source of danger are the big billboards overhanging the Laperal compound. The Metro Manila Development Authority has, time and again, pointed to these giant billboards as sources of potential hazards especially in times of storms and typhoons or earthquakes. These billboards would not be posing a hazard to the Laperal residents had the local government not approved their construction and display. Moreover, this is the fifth time that fire raged through the houses of the Laperal compound residents over the past 4 years that residents are starting to conclude that these did not arise from accidental causes. They are of the opinion that fires ravaging their homes has become a form of forced eviction. It would do the Makati local government unit well to look into this possibility,” added the Gabriela solon.
“The Makati local government intimates that these residents of Laperal compound are syndicates because they lease out portions of their homes and because of the manner in which they defended their homes against forced eviction. Leasing out rooms to allow the family to survive is not crime. Poor families defending their only home is not a crime. But cutting off the people’s source of income, destroying their homes and dignity, and hurting and killing human beings, is the biggest crime in the case of the Laperal forced evacuation,” said the solon, whose office filed a resolution with the House Committee on Human Rights asking for an investigation of the issue.
"Sa loob ng napakahabang panahon, mga magnanakaw at pinagmumulan ng mga problemang panlipunan ang bansag ng pamahalan sa mahihirap. Ngunit sa totoo lang, sa loob ng napakahabang panahon, sila ang nananatiling biktima ng mga sinasabi nating pag-unlad ng bayan," Rep. De Jesus said.
“I challenge the local government to look at the issues surrounding urban poor communities as a microcosm of the bigger social problems rooted from injustice and unequal distribution of the nation’s wealth. Instead of accusing them of living on illegal trade and filing cases against them, the local government should develop an on-site housing program for the poor that also considers the opening up of job opportunities for them. Having access to decent shelter is a basic human right. There is no higher duty that government, whether at the local or national level, is expected to fulfill, than that mandated by our Constitution: that it shall promote the common good, under a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace,” ended Rep. De Jesus.###