The relocation site is right in the middle of the Marikina fault line. There are no livelihood opportunities available and the houses are made of light materials.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — With a loan from the company her husband is working for as a driver, Emelyn Vidas, 31, and her husband were able to build their home in Sitio San Roque, Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City. They religiously paid the monthly amortization for more than a year. But just before they were fully paid, the Vidas family, along with other families in the community, received a notice of demolition from the National Housing Authority (NHA).
“I feel bad at the thought that I would have to leave this home,” Vidas told Bulatlat in Filipino, “It is very simple but my husband and I worked hard for it.”
The Quezon City Central Business District (QCBD) is a 256-hectare project that would supposedly put Quezon City, if not the entire country, “at the forefront of global investment and business interest.” Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed on May 4, 2007 Executive Order No. 670 or the Rationalizing and Speeding Up the Development of the East and North Triangles, and the Veterans Memorial Area of Quezon City, as a “well-planned, Integrated and environmentally balanced mixed-use development model” to give way to the creation of the QC-CBD.
Residents along Agham Road call on the government to put a stop to the QC-CBD project. (Photo by Jennifer Chan / bulatlat.com)
The Ayala Land Inc., a big real estate company, has signed an agreement with the NHA to develop 29.1 hectares of the QC-CBD in North Triangle at an estimated cost of P22 billion ($500 million at an exchange rate of $44=P1). The project, however, would displace thousands of urban poor dwellers who include government employees.
The notice of demolition dated July 27, 2010 is by far the most traumatic experience that Vidas could think of. “I could not eat,” she said, adding that she is being tortured by the thought that in three days, they would not have a place to call home. She joined other families who barricaded the community but no demolition team came.
At the people’s camp where residents are preparing for the arrival of demolition teams. (Photo by Jennifer Chan / bulatlat.com)
On September 15, the residents of Sitio San Roque received another 15-day notice of demolition. Residents are expecting that the demolition team would arrive either on September 23 or 24 since the notice should only include working days.
“We learned how to fight because our rights are being violated and we are being abused because we are poor,” Agham-Terminal Anakpawis Chapter president Romel Gupo said.
The NHA offered the residents of Sitio San Roque P1,000 ($23), five kilos of rice, two packs of instant noodles and two canned sardines if they would agree to be relocated to Montalban, Rizal. They are also being offered a 20-square meter house at the relocation site, which is supposedly worth P250,000 ($5681).
Gupo told Bulatlat that the houses are made of light materials. “(The houses) would collapse the moment you hit it.” He added in a sarcastic tone saying that it was definitely “a government project.”