Evicted Poor Citizens of the City Dispersed Violently at Midnight
People of all beliefs and non-believers as well have dearly held values about how to treat fellow human beings. In whatever culture I have been exposed to, I haven’t heard of any country extolling violence against fellow human beings. And yet, in our country, supposed to be known for our non-violent people power revolution of 1986, a midnight dispersal of urban poor people camping out in front of the National Housing Authority to assert their rights peacefully, happened in the wee hours of April 13, 2010.
The poor in the city have always been viewed harshly by people living comfortable lives. People in comfortable circumstances, whether the source of their comfort is honorable or not, feel ever entitled to lecture on the poor or malign the poor.
Those people are not paying taxes. (Of course this is not true. The poor are heavily burdened with indirect taxes!)
Those people make the city unsightly. (Of course this is not true. The poor make the gardens of the rich to please their eyes and spirit.)
Those people are greedy, they want to occupy the sidewalks. (The poor wouldn’t run to the sidewalks to sell their wares if they were provided access to decent livelihood programs by their government.)
Those people are unreasonable. (Of course this is not true. It is because when the poor assert their rights, they are generally viewed by mainstream society as unreasonable.)
When the poor citizens of the city assert their entitlements, it’s always an uphill battle and most of the time, it is always a matter of life and death. Even access to services as basic as safe water and electricity become a matter of life and death for the poor.
What people occupying positions of power and authority often miss most of the time is the positive presence of the poor in the city. People at the corridors of power do not realize that their drivers, helpers at home, gardeners, etc. are from the hardworking poor. And yet until today, despite the efforts of the poor to make their call for social justice heard, our society, in general, has not shaped up. It’s unfortunate as so many of our best and brightest citizens have offered their time and talent, even martyrdom, at the extreme, if only to let the message of social justice blare and glow in our society’s corridors of power.
The photos in this hub show the effort of the eviction team to break the human barricade staged by the urban poor to let the government know that the people’s right to a humane relocation site plus seven other mandatory requirements in the Urban Development and Housing Act have not been complied with.
The video below shows how the poor of Navotas, Rizal were dispersed at midnight in the course of their peaceful camp out to tell fellow Filipinos that there is something wrong in the way the Urban Development and Housing Act (Republic Act 7276) is being implemented. The camp out at the National Housing Authority was the result of a forced eviction of 340 families on March 9, 2010. The reason for the eviction was the road widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways.