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Businessmen cashing in on Metro Manila Reclamation project–IBON

Research group IBON said that the Manila Bay reclamation project under the Build, Build, Build program is a profit-led infrastructure plan that will mainly benefit big business.

The group said that contrary to government claims, the project will displace nearby communities from their homes and livelihoods and destroy the environment.

The Manila Bay Reclamation project involves a series of infrastructure reclamation projects spanning the coasts of Bulacan, Manila, Pasay, and Cavite.

According to the Philippine Reclamation Authority, there are a total of 22 proposed projects for Manila Bay alone, four of which have been approved.

The project is under the “Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS)” by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

It aims to tap private sector investments to develop Manila Bay and supposedly usher economic growth.

IBON said that there are a number of corporations set to build and profit from these projects during the Manila Bay Reclamation.

The largest and most expensive of these are being carried out by the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) led by Ramon Ang.

The Php735-billion Bulacan International Airport or Aerotropolis will reclaim around 2,500 hectares of Manila Bay waters, and the Php400-billion Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control project will reclaim 11,200 hectares.

The Php72-billion Pasay Harbor Reclamation Project will be built by the Pasay Harbor City consortium made up of the Udenna Development Corp. (UDEVCO), Ulticon Builders, Inc., and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited.

The project will reclaim and develop 265 hectares for various tourist attractions, high-rise and low-rise condominiums, and a yacht pier.

IBON observed that long-time Duterte supporter and Davao businessman Dennis Uy has a stake in these reclamation projects through his company UDEVCO.

A top contributor to Duterte’s 2016 presidential campaign, Uy’s companies have so far bagged under the administration the original proponent status for the Davao Monorail Project; the Department of Energy’s nod to develop the country’s first liquified natural gas terminal together with Chinese firm, CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd; as well as the third telco slot under the Mislatel consortium.

Other big companies with projects lined up in Manila Bay include the Manila Solar City Project of the Manila Goldcoast Development Corp (MGDC), a subsidiary of the Wilson Tieng-led Solar Group of Companies, and the Sy Family with various reclamation projects in Pasay City.

Mostly urban poor communities stand to lose their homes and livelihoods to make way for reclamation projects, said IBON.  

The government announced its plan to relocate around 220,000 families living in Manila Bay to National Housing Authority (NHA) relocation units in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

But the plan for livelihood and services provision remains to be seen.  

Meanwhile, the livelihoods of 5,000 fisherfolk will be affected by SMC’s Aerotropolis.

According to national fisherfolk federation, Pamalakaya, 20,000 fisherfolk will be affected by the construction of the Navotas Boulevard Business Park, part of the reclamation project.

Moreover, documents from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) state that the projects will have ecological impacts in Manila Bay.

Throughout the construction of the various projects, contaminants from dredged sediments will be released, deplete dissolved oxygen, and destroy natural habitats of sardines and mangroves found in Manila Bay. 

Once finished, the projects will interfere with the natural tide flow of water in the area and erode the shoreline of nearby beaches. The erosion could cause flooding in nearby low-lying areas especially during a typhoon.

IBON said that with the data from the EMB, all the more, government should follow its own environmental impact assessment.

IBON also said that while Manila Bay should be rehabilitated, the government’s current plan serves the interest of a profit-minded few and will cause significant displacement and environmental damage.

The government should suspend the Manila Bay reclamation project and develop a rehabilitation plan that is environmentally sustainable and will improve the conditions and livelihoods of people living in Manila Bay, said the group. #

Kadamay presses demand for housing rights

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) trooped to the National Housing Authority yesterday, March 24, to condemn the agency’s failure to address the housing crisis that victimizes at least five million families household nationwide.

The group called for scrapping of the Urban Development and Housing Act it said never succeeded in addressing the ever-worsening shortage of housing for the poor.

Kadamay called on the poor to join them in demanding free mass housing for the poor from the Rodrigo Duterte government. (Video by Divine Miranda)

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Urban poor calls for scrapping of Housing Act of 1992

The Rodrigo Duterte government must step up in terms of providing mass housing, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay)  said.

“For too long the public has been led to believe that social services, like housing, were only meant to be publicly funded but not publicly allocated. There is a housing crisis in the country, not only because the government’s 5.5 million backlog still stands but because the current setup of socialized housing is inherently anti-poor,” Kadamay secretary-general Carlito Badion said.

Among the issues Kadamay protested at a rally in front of Mendiola last March 13 was the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) insistence on the “socialized” housing scheme spelled out in Republic Act 7279, the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992.

Kadamay, however, rejects the scheme as its forces the poor to pay up on what should be a basic social service.

“The government and NHA insist that the urban poor, one of the most disenfranchised in our country, should pay for a basic right,” Badion said.

It is as if the houses being built and sold come with water, electricity and basic utilities, Badion added.

“Occupy Bulacan”

To force the Duterte government to finally act, Kadamay started occupying government housing units in Bulacan Province since March 8.

Kadamay said the houses comprise a small percentage of 53,000 units that have remained vacant for as long as five years.

The NHA has called their actions “illegal” while Duterte called Kadamay’s move as “anarchic.”

Kadamay condemned the statements, saying their actions would not have been necessary had the government acted on Duterte’s promise to distribute vacant housing units during last year’s Housing Summit.

“This is not the first time we have voiced our demands. We marched and presented our call for housing rights before the president. Our petitions have fallen on deaf ears,” he added.

Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said they are not taking houses away from alleged rightful owners.

“That cannot be the case when there is nobody living in the houses,” she said.

Kadamay said their sector continue to suffer as when the Benigno Aquino government demolished their communities and forcibly evicted thousands of families from their houses.

“Duterte’s government is showing that Presidents past and present take the same stance against the interests of the poor,” Badion said.

They called for the scrapping of the UDHA, which they saw as an obstacle to their basic right to housing.

“By retaining the UDHA and the NHA’s corrupt practices, problems for the urban poor will keep repeating themselves. The UDHA must be scrapped to make way for free and mass housing for the poor,” Kadamay said. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

 

“Duterte promised us free housing”–Kadamay

THE Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said their occupation of vacant units at various projects in Pandi, Bulacan stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of free housing.

They said they have waited long enough for the promise to be fulfilled, repeatedly petitioning various government agencies, to no avail.

Finally, last March 8, they have decided to take matters into their own hands and moved into vacant housing units that have been waiting for occupants for at least two years already.
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Kadamay: Unjust policies force poor to occupy housing sites

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) marched to Mendiola yesterday to urge President Rodrigo Duterte to a dialogue in order for them to show proof that hundreds of housing units are unoccupied in Bulacan Province.

Instead of distributing government housing units to poor beneficiaries, the National Housing Authority only choose families who can pay exorbitant rates, Kadamay said.

Hundreds of Kadamay members occupied several housing projects in Bulacan last week, a move aimed at bringing the issue to Duterte’ attention, the group said. (Video by Divine Miranda/Featured photo by Romie Malonzo) Read more

Urban poor residents score vs rent interest impositions

RESIDENTS of Southville 3 in Muntinlupa City ended their rally today in a triumphant note after National Housing Authority (NHA) officials agreed to lift housing interest rates imposed on them since 2009.

Armed with an endorsement from Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chairman Terry Ridon  and accompanied by former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, Sandigan at Malayang Samahan ng Southville 3 (Sama-Sama sa SV3) members finally won an audience with NHA Muntinlupa officials and allowed to present their complaints against rent and interest impositions. Read more

Victims of recent demolitions condemn QC government

RESIDENTS of Apollo Street along Tandang Sora Avenue protested at the Quezon City Hall today to condemn the demolition of their community.

Demolition victim Ernesto Ringor Jr. said Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel showed up at their compound under the pretext of the anti-criminality drive Oplan Galugad in the early hours of June 16.

Read the rest of the story here: Victims condemn lllegal demolition of communities

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Victims condemn illegal demolition of communities

RESIDENTS of Apollo Street along Tandang Sora Avenue protested at the Quezon City Hall today to condemn the demolition of their community.

Demolition victim Ernesto Ringor Jr. said Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel showed up at their compound under the pretext of the anti-criminality drive Oplan Galugad in the early hours of June 16.

But the initial batch of police officers was followed by more QCPD and demolition personnel later in the morning and started tearing down their houses, Ringor said. Read more

Victims call on Duterte to stop ‘demolition business’

VICTIMS of a recent demolition of an urban poor community along Luzon Avenue in Quezon City called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to investigate the unjust destruction of their houses.

The residents said that the Quezon City government and a court sheriff authorized the demolition despite their failure to present a court order. Read more

Kadamay holds Kalbaryo 2016

To dramatize their sufferings as a result of the government’s “anti-poor” housing programs, members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) held its annual procession from Quiapo to Mendiola, Manila last March 22.

Kadamay condemned Benigno Aquino’s government’s failure to solve the housing crisis for the urban poor.

They also scored what they call are unjust wages and lack of social services that would allow them to build better communities.

Kadamay’s “Kalbaryo” is annually staged during Holy Week with participants dramatizing their sufferings by carrying crosses with political demands.