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MMDA demolition needs court okay By: Joel dela Torre

[ journal.com.ph ] September 26, 2008

By: Joel dela Torre

THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority can no longer implement demolition and eviction of squatters in the National Capital Region without a court approval.

This after the Department of Interior and Local Government issued a memorandum circular to city and municipal mayors to create their respective Local Housing Boards which will oversee demolition works in their localities.

Under the DILG circular, any demolition operations will require a clearance from the LHBs.

In several instances in the past, MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando clashed with local chief executives over demolition of illegal settlers.

Metro Manila mayors believed that the MMDA has no jurisdiction over eviction of residents.

DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno said the LHBs shall be created through an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the Sangguniang Bayan within one month from the issuance of the circular.

“The ordinance is a pre-requisite before any city or municipal government can conduct its clearinghouse function,” Puno said, adding that “in the enactment of such ordinance, coordination with the office of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor is encouraged.”

In the case of the MMDA, it should first seek a court’s approval before it can carry out demolitions.

The circular covers cities and municipalities outside of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with informal settlers in danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, landfills, creeks, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, public places such as, sidewalks, public cemeteries, roads, parks and playgrounds, and government projects.

City or municipal mayors will lead the LHB with the chairperson of the Sanggunian committee on housing and urban development, the city or municipal planning and development coordinator, the city or municipal engineer, a representative from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, a representative of a duly accredited People’s Organization operating in the city or municipality, and a representative of SEC-registered and duly accredited NGO operating in the city or municipality, as members.

Under the order, the board shall monitor all evictions and demolitions, whether voluntary, extra-judicial, summary or court-ordered or require proponent of an eviction and demolition to first secure the checklist, guidelines and eviction and demolition compliance certificate, and submit the same to the board with attestation under oath that consultations with the affected families were undertaken, and resettlement site and relocation facilities were available

The LHB will also issue an eviction and demolition compliance certificate.

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