Philippines: Urban poor want resumption of peace talks for genuine housing rights
I would just like to share with you some updates on our campaign. The government of Philippines had it's first housing summit under the new administration. KADAMAY was there to participate and we also brought along a large contingent (around 4,300 people).
Days before the Summit, the President had cancelled the peace talks with the revolutionary forces. We were dismayed by this turn of events especially in light of the abuses of the government and its intention to do even more.
The peace talks were meant to resolve poverty issues in the country such as housing. The reform agreement on the table during the talks explicitly states that housing rights and an end to demolitions on all levels will be implemented if signed.
Unfortunately, the president did nothing to recognize our calls during the protest and police were hostile towards our contingent. However, we gained a lot of public and media support with our actions which is another good step.
Next month (March 24) will be the 25th anniversary of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA), the main enabling law for neo-liberal housing policies. We are gearing up for a campaign on this.
We ask your help in crafting appeal letters for the scrapping or repeal of the law. In cooperation with a progressive party in Congress, there is already proposed bill to repeal it.We ask you help is in supporting this initiative by any means that you can.
I hope you are all in good health.
Salamat at mabuhay kayo!
Urban poor want resumption of peace talks for genuine housing rights
All-out war signifies a commitment to conflict instead of peace
Reference: Michael Beltran - 09554571061, Carlito Badion, Secretary General – 09283508777
Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap mobilized thousands of urban poor Filipinos at the government Housing Summit headed by HUDCC chief Evasco and attended by President Duterte himself. KADAMAY stressed that it is in the best interest of poor Filipinos that the peace talks continue especially since housing rights are a prominent feature. The socio-economic reforms currently on the table were on a fast track to be agreed upon by both sides just before the president cancelled the negotiations.
“Dapat ituloy ang negosasyon at sayang ang napakaraming napagkasunduan at mapagkakasunduan pa. Kasama na dito ang pagtitiyak ng mass housing sa mamamayan at pagtigil ng mga iligal at mararahas na demolisyon sa mga komunidad,” said Carlito Badion, KADAMAY Secretary General.
On the other hand, Badion also assailed the pronouncements of the administration and the AFP in particular towards ending the peace process. “It’s as if the AFP and the government have been innocent during the ceasefire. In fact the atrocities and violations committed during the ceasefire have been perpetrated by state elements.”
On the cancellation of the Joint Agreement on Immunity and Safety Guarantees (JASIG) he added that “Duterte is giving way to more fascist steps in addressing the conflict by encouraging more military activity. A government committed to more military activity alone is not one searching for a peace alternative.”
According to a report by human rights group, Karapatan, there have been 14, 659 cases of harassment and intimidation since August to December of last year. There have also been 4, 170 cases of endangerment of civilians due to indiscriminate fire and bombing and 7, 841 instances wherein schools, churches and other civilian areas were used for military purposes.
Some members of KADAMAY witnessed the proceedings inside to support any progressive stances. However most of the thousands protested outside and lamented the persistence of demolitions and corporate neo-liberal housing policies.
According to KADAMAY, under Duterte demolitions have increased while relocation sites continue to fill up without adequate utilities. This was identified early on yet the administration persists with a neo-liberal framework enjoining corporate interests in housing instead of providing services for the people.
“The peace talks and socio-economic reforms are a real shot for the benefit of the poor. Ending demolitions, housing rights for all Filipinos and genuine development of communities can become a reality. At the moment, the government is intent on fostering more conflict while the people clamor for peace. Paano magkakaroon ng kapayapaan kung pinapalayas kami, binubusabos at pinapatay? ” explained Badion.