Today, informal settlers belonging to the Kapatiran ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO) protested in front of the Manila Hotel to reiterate their call for the issuance of an executive order calling for a ban on all demolition unless adequate socialized housing are provided.
“Stop criminalizing and demonizing the informal settlers,” this is the emphatic declaration of Fatima Cabanag, Secretary General of KAMAO as the group picketed the 1st National Conference on Urban Development and Housing Act (RA 7279), which was organized by the Philippine Federation of Real Estate Service Professionals (PFRESPI), in cooperation with the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to conduct a comprehensive review of the law.
“Malacañang, local government units and real estate developers are the real culprits for the series of violent demolitions that the happened since PNoy was swept into power,” she said.
“Had LGUs implemented UDHA, we would not have a grave housing crisis that we are experiencing right now,” Cabanag explained. “Had Malacañang issued an executive order calling on a moratorium evictions without socialized housing, violent demolitions would have been prevented,” she added.
Republic Act (RA) 7279, also known as the “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, was enacted by President Corazon Aquino to provide socialized housing for informal settlers. It clearly defines the role of the LGUs in conducting urban land inventory, determining areas for socialized housing and distributing the same to informal settlers.
“Sadly, after more than 20 years, none of the LGUs have fully complied with the mandate of the law,” Cabanag explained.
Instead of implementing the law, LGU officials, working in cahoots with the real estate developers, have opted to use violence in illegally evicting informal settlers despite DILG declaration calling for a moratorium on demolition.
“Clearly, what we need immediately is the issuance of an executive order that would put teeth to DILG’s pronouncements against demolitions,” Cabanag said.
KAMAO intends to file a legal case against LGUs for none implementation of UDHA even as it calls on government to present a roadmap on how it intends to solve the housing crisis.
KAMAO is a national confederation of informal settler’s organizations, which is affiliated to the Alliance of Progressive Labor-SENTRO.