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Urban poor to call for Noy’s resignation over demolitions

By Pat C. Santos
04/10/2012 [ tribune.net.ph ]

Urban-poor groups under the Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon (Alliance Against Demolition) will launch today a campaign to gather one million signatures for the repeal of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) or Republic Act 7279.

In a statement, they said the petition calls on the House of the Representatives to expedite the passage of House Bill 5443 filed by Anakpawis party-list Rafael Mariano, which repeals the UDHA which the poorest representative in the Lower House claimed has paved the way for the massive demolition of urban-poor communities nationwide in favor of the capitalists.

Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon, an assemblage of not less than 80 urban-poor groups mostly based in Metro Manila, had also filed a case asking the Supreme Court (SC) to declare some anti-poor provisions in the UDHA as unconstitutional.

Carlito Badion, lead convenor of the Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon, the one-million signature drive is part of the legal strategies being planned by the group to deter the demolition of homes. “Other than supporting the HB 5443, it aims to raise the awareness and (gather) support (for) victims (of illegal) demolition, especially among the urban poor,” he added.

Badion expressed confidence that they can collect the desired number of signatures to repeal the UDHA before the regular session at the Lower House resumes in June and in time for the next en banc session of the SC on April 24.

“But even as we achieved the desired number in the quickest possible time, we still believe that the victory in the fight of every urban poor against the demolition of their homes lies mainly in the extra-legal means of defense which is the people’s barricades,” the leader explained.

The anti-demolition alliance also slammed the administration’s “over-protection” of the UDHA following President Aquino’s Executive Order 69, which places the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor directly under the Office of the President.

The group claimed that the new EO will secure the full implementation of UDHA to the continued benefit of elite businesses who now fear to lose the legal basis of their own form of “land-grabbing” in urban areas.

Meanwhile, militant urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) has been very vocal in expressing its disappointment over the anti-poor actuations of the Aquino administration.

“For all the harm that the current administration has done to the sector, from allowing the oil cartel to take a big share of the small income of the urban poor to government’s unabated demolition rampage, the urban poor will certainly be the first to call for Aquino’s resignation in the days to come,” according to Gloria Arellano, Kadamay secretary-general.

“Aquino’s puppetry to the dictates of the few business elites and foreign imperialists will eventually put him in the dustbin of history, as he seems only to thread the trails left by his predecessors,” Arellano ended.
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