NAPC brings campaign to community threatened with eviction

Sec. Liza Maza, head of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, visits the Manggahan Floodway. (contributed photo)

MANILA, Philippines — To kick off the observance of the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty, the National Anti-Poverty Commission led by Secretary Liza Maza visited a community in Cainta, Rizal that is threatened with demolition and eviction.

The visit of the NAPC’s “Kilos SAMBAYANAN Caravan” to Barangay San Andres, Manggahan Floodway also saw the signing of a covenant between residents and government officials upholding the people’s right to secure and decent housing.

The signing of the covenant followed a dialogue initiated by the NAPC between residents’ oganizations and officials of the National Housing Authority, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Cainta Urban Poor Affairs Office.

Some 20,000 families along the floodway are at risk of eviction after the area was declared a danger zone. However, previous presidential proclamations have set aside land in the area for socialized housing development.

Just recently, residents resisted an eviction attempt that saw 43 people arrested.

Residents on the floodway are demanding that government implement on-site development and award them land instead of driving them away.

Maza agreed that “forced eviction will only worsen the housing crisis” and stressed the need for a “comprehensive mass housing program … to guarantee the right to decent shelter of the poor.”

She also supported calls for on-site or in-city resettlement so affected residents are not brought far from their sources of livelihood and other basic needs.

Launched in Del Pan, Tondo on July 16, the Kilos SAMBAYANAN Caravan, or Kilos para sa Sampung Batayang Pangangailangan, seeks to fulfill people’s “10 basic needs”: food and land reform; water; shelter; work; education; health; social protection; healthy environment; peace; and participation.

The NAPC holds that only when these 10 basic needs are fulfilled can the nation claim to have finally overcome poverty.

Proclamation 717 issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo designated October 17-23 as the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty. Before this, then President Fidel Ramos issued Proclamation No. 269 declaring October 17 as the National Day of Overcoming Extreme Poverty.