Monday, 27 January 2014

Another battle has been unleashed

Another battle has been unleashed

It was afternoon when this writer passed near Manila Seedling Bank at Quezon city. This time full of old wood, bystanders and trucks full of riot policemen, the scene is quite obvius that the place mear the said establishment, especially its inhabitants, is again facing the problem they themselves trying to resist.

Like a few years ago, Sitio San Roque, Manila Seedling Bank, and even the Philippine Children's Medical Center faced the threat of eviction both from the developers and the authorities. The entire "North Triangle" is deemed to become Quezon City's "Central Business District", imitating those of Makati, Ortigas Centre, and Fort Bonifacio as developed areas suitable for financial and commercial transactions. 

Admittingly speaking, this writer would say that at first, it is quite nice to hear that Quezon City may developed and be at par with the districts this writer had stated; but on the other hand, seeing demolitions and forced evictions for the sake of profit-oriented private development seems that the city itself had given up state-owned property, supposedly for community building to the private sector- especially those of Ayala and Henry Sy competing in the control of the said district such as SM Development Corporation and Makati Development Corporation wanting to expand their interest in building commercial and residential complexes with the latter sponsored by the National Housing Authority as its agent.
The latter, being a government agency could have the opportunity to develop the said district into a community in which these residents can live as they wish, but instead they were doing the same procedure towards these urban poor by forcing them to settle in not quite developed suburbs near Metro Manila.

But, with most of the inhabitants rather chose to oppose their profit-oriented motives, particularly at Sitio San Roque, these so-called developers resort to force with the state carrying the task of evicting and destroying their communities. Even the land donated from the government such as the Manila Seedling Bank isn't spared from the order, that somehow made owners of each stall had hard time carrying their goods and move out such as one that advises its costumers to buy in their new stall at Mindanao ave; while the Philippine Children's Medical Center continues to pressure the state had the property be legitimately under their control.
Speaking of the forced evacuations and people opposing, the inhabitants had forced to throw bottles and stones and trying to resist the tear gas firing and truncheon-carrying riot policemen; and like any other incidents affecting the urban poor, clashes erupted with barricades made out of wood or furniture defended by bottle-throwing or wood-paddling inhabitants. Around 250 families are affected as according to GMA news regarding the clash over North Triangle, with 29 hurt mostly from the side of the resisters while three came from policemen. Also according to the report that the police had arrested nine people for allegedly throwing bottles, pillboxes, and "human bombs."

But according to a report from Tanggol Kabuhayan Pilipinas:

"Today, more than 1000 forces of Philippine National Police and Demolition Team headed by Col. Sanchez and Marlow Jacutin of Task Force COPRISS forcibly evicted and demolished the homes and livelihood of more than 200 residents.
The demolition team used guns, teargas and brute force. The community were being attacked with tear gas anywhere. Children are suffocated, brought to hospitals and traumatized."

Initial reports also even stated that (via Vencer Crisostomo):

"17 North Triangle residents were arrested today. Most of them were actually assisting children and even toddlers who were affected by the indiscriminate use of tear gas by elements of the PNP. The arrested have reportedly been brought to Camp Karingal in Q.C, while those injured, including those who suffocated on tear gas, were rushed to the Veterans Medical Center."

Well, if nine were arrested allegedly because of carrying bottles and pillboxes, how about those who are just assisting children and toddlers who were affected by tear gas? Also according to Katch Catoy, he stated that:

"14 wounded with two requiring hospitalisation including a two-month old baby who stopped breathing due to tear gas inhalation all in the ongoing barricade versus demolition team at San Roque, QC."

A certain "Ka Inday" who was suffering from heart attack, was also included in the list of affected that are now undergoing hospitalization also according to Catoy.

These actions would been lessened if the state rather chose to promote development in cooperation with the inhabitants, most of them were working as drivers, laundrywomen, even call centre agents and at the Manila Seedling Bank taking care of the plants and as vendors. The so-called development made by the profiteers is in fact privatizing a state owned land in a city originally made for the common man, and the state should had helped the inhabitants given dignity in their communities by developing the same community that nowadays being demolished all for the sake of  an illusion such as malls and complexes promoted by actors and actresses, typical presentation of the ruling class that can't be paid by those who can't afford, particularly those who had really build yet living in the conditions such as in that sitio.

"Worst of all," as according to Crisostomo prior to the standoff and demolition, "officials from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Philippine Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) ignored repeated pleas by the residents for a dialogue between the latter and the PNP." 

Hayz,  since Crisostomo, Catoy, and Tanggol Kabuhayan had stated the reports given,  seems that the system are rather intentionally acting aloof, starting with ignoring pleas to arresting including those who were doing nothing except assisting the young and the weak; and like any other incident such as Silverio years ago, this writer would say that simply because they are poor and destitute, they deserve hardship, and that hardship also meant repression both from the state and private interests.
Worse, they are unjustly classified as lumpen despite these people also working with dignity such as drivers, laundrywomen, vendors, anything least trying to work with dignity regardless of others judging that most shantytown dwellers are prostitutes and thieves, if not killers and drunkards.

Anyways, just because they had afford to resist they are deemed to be punished? When was development really cater to the masses instead of the privileged? The events given may possibly not end, much expected that there are reprisals to come, especially from a people willing to resist.