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.

“Hinahanapan namin sila ng court order, wala silang maipakita,” Ringor said. (We asked them for a court order for the demolition, but they failed to produce it.)

Ringor said fences were subsequently put up around the area last June 23 that prevent the residents from entering the compound and forcing them to sleep on the streets.

One hundred forty eight families were displaced following the demolition.

The victims were told by the city government that the “proper” owners of the property pursued their claim, making their community illegal.

They were also told their houses were fire hazards.

The protesters said private claims for the Apollo property were already dismissed by the court in 1995 and the Department of Justice in 2014, respectively.

Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) vice chairperson Estrelieta Bagasbas said the recent spate of demolitions is due to the planned Quezon City Central Business District (QCBD) where 22 barangays have been recently demolished or are up for demolition.

“Inuuna lang itong madadaling gibain, kagaya nitong mga private land,” Bagasbas said, citing recent demolitions in Culiat and Old Balara. (They are going for the easier targets first, like these privately-owned lands.)

Kadamay demanded accountability for the illegal demolitions as well as assistance from incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Panagutan at bayaran ‘yung mga nasira. Hanggang walang relokasyon, ibalik ‘yung mga tao sa lugar,” Bagasbas said.(They should be made accountable and pay for the damages. The victims must be reinstated as long as there are no relocation sites.) # (Report and photo by Abril Layad B. Ayroso)