More than 200 R-10 Navotas Residents who were affected by massive forced demolition, camped out at the gates of DPWH-Department of Public Works and Highways Main Office to demand the stoppage of demolition and to appeal for adequate relocation of their affected families. The camp-out started since last March 9, 2010.
Carrying their children with their personal belongings, the affected families chose to stay at the front gates of the agency who made them homeless.
"We have no choice but to stay here. They (DPWH) had demolished all our houses without providing proper relocation for us. What kind of government we have now? They have no heart for the poor. What they did to us was very inhumane." Yolanda Ofaga, a resident and organization leader.
"The on-going illegal demolition in R-10 Navotas must be stop. The DPWH violated the law and our rights to shelter."
The law, our 1987 Constitution and the UDHA-Urban Development and Housing Act-RA7279 states that there should be adequate notice, consultation and most of all adequate relocation for the affected families. Added to this, EO 708 was signed by President Arroyo mandating local government units the issuance of COC-Certificate of Compliance for every conduct of demolitions, but it should follow the UDHA and the guidelines stated from the DILG-Dep't of Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular.
DPWH did not complied to what the law requires. In series of Local Housing Board Meetings, DPWH failed to submit the following requirements, masterlist of the affected families, minutes of the of the consultation with the affected families, certificate of land availability, and development plan of relocation site.
"DPWH and the Navotas Local Government are hiding something. Why would our city mayor issued COC-Certificate of Compliance in favor of the DPWH while the requirements of the law was not really complied with? We challenge them to show these documents in public."
"DPWH's claim that they have relocation in Muzon, Bulacan is misleading. The said site in Muzon was not properly processed and did not comply with the checklist on mandatory requirements on relocation. The land in Muzon has no enough documents to prove that it is suitable for resettlement because the DPWH lacks the Certificate of Land Availability and Development Plan for the site. DPWH just want us to accept the financial assistance and its up to us if we would opt for Muzon or not. It is clear that there is a violation here. It did not follow the guidelines mandated by the law."
PCUP-Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Chairman Percival Chavez already said on a recent meeting that the said site in Muzon is not recognized by the government as a proper relocation and it's operator, the Macawili Foundation, a private entity is not a licenced nor accredited originator by his agency nor in any government agencies who cater land and housing. Added to these, there were no proper documents that will support the site in Muzon as a siutable site for relocation.
Chaiman Chavez also issued a formal statement and requested for the urgent deferment of the demolition in R10 Navotas. He questioned the legality of the COC issued by Mayor Tiangco.
Contrary to DPWH's claim that many people had accepted financial assistance, affected families brought with them their certificates and tagging to prove that they haven't claim their financial assistance and demanded proper relocation.
"Many families won't accept financial assistance from DPWH because we knew that financial assistance in absence of providing relocation for the affected families is against the law."
"We will stay here until government meet our demands. We want President Arroyo or Secretary Vic Domingo to call for the stoppage of demolition in R-10 Navotas and provide proper relocation for our families. They should follow the law and respect the rights of the people." Priscelda Juanich of SAPIPA-R-10 Alliance and also a partner of Task Force Anti-Eviction.
According to Task Force Anti-Eviction, the government through DPWH, planned to demolish more than 15,000 affected families because of road-widening project of R-10, from Manila to Navotas area, without providing relocation. The group called on President Arroyo to stop this plan and develop in-city and near city relocation before conducting any demolitions and evictions.