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MANILA, Philippines - With the violent dispersal at the Silverio Compound still fresh in people's minds, three more demolition flashpoints - two in Paranaque and one in Quezon City - emerged as residents from these places protested the impending demolition operations.
More than a hundred Tucuma community residents from Barangay Merville stormed Paranaque City Hall Wednesday to show their protest and seek a dialogue with Mayor Jun Bernabe for him to intervene and stop Thursday's demolition of their area.
Holding placards, the protesters living at the Tucuma community in Barangay Merville marched towards City Hall, but security guards locked the gate to prevent them from entering the premises. No one from the mayor's office talked to the residents, so they just blocked the streets to show their protest.
According to the residents, they had written Mayor Bernabe many times to ask for an appointment and seek his assistance but got no reply.
More than 1,000 families will be affected by the demolition and residents have set up barricades to stop the demolition teams.
Mayor Bernabe said later there is nothing he could do on the matter since a court order had been issued allowing it. Bernabe hoped there won’t be a repeat of the tragedy at the Silverio Compound in Sucat which left one resident dead after police teams clashed with protesters on Monday.
Settlers near airport told to leave
In another case, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) talked to residents living under the Cutcut bridge near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, and asked them to leave their homes. According to MMDA, a relocation site is already being prepared for around 40 families which will be affected by the demolition.
Aside from safety concerns, the area is also being prepared for an Asian Development Bank (ADB) conference to be attended by thousand of delegates from May 2 to 5 this year. Despite a lengthy dialogue with the MMDA and the promise of cash for work by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, residents refused to vacate their homes.
Flashpoint in QC
Meanwhile, a similar demolition flashpoint is brewing in Quezon City where homes on Lots 1 and 2 and Block 3 of Dona Nicasia subdivision in Barangay Commonwealth are set to be demolished Thursday.
Militant groups and affected residents of Barangay Old Balara and Barangay Commonwealth stormed Quezon City Hall to condemn the demolition order of the Control and Prevention of Illegal Structures and Squatting office of Quezon City. The group is seeking Mayor Herbert Bautista's help to prevent another bloody dispersal.
Despite being given a relocation site, residents of Barangays Old Balara and Commonwealth refused to leave the area.
According to them, living in the relocation site in Montalban, Rizal is akin to a death sentence owing to the reported high risk of flashfloods and landslide in the area.
They are worried about losing their source of livelihood as more than a hundred families work in a recycling factory in Barangay Commonwealth. Malaya Roxanne Santos, with reports from Mon Gualvez, Jun Loyola, JL Asayo