By Abigail Kwok
MANILA, Philippines—Urban-poor groups on Tuesday rushed to the Paranaque City hall to protest the alleged illegal demolition of their homes in the community of Palasan and the arrest of residents and supporters.
The group Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino said members and leaders of the Palasan Neighborhood Association and the party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) marched to the city hall at 9 a.m. to seek a dialogue with Mayor Florencio Bernabe.
“The demolition is illegal because no order of demolition has been issued by any court. Moreover the eviction is very inhuman. They did not just use heavy equipment but also put our houses on fire. Finally they arrested us like terrorists. But fighting for rights and defending our homes is not a crime,” said Rodrigo Bautista, president of the Palasan Neighborhood Association.
But Senior Superintendent Alfredo Valdez, chief of Paranaque City police, said that police have a court order for a writ of possession.
Valdez said the demolition was conducted a few weeks ago and that they arrested seven residents on Monday for alleged trespassing.
“We have already enclosed the property and have arrested seven people for trespassing,” he said in a phone interview.
Groups, however, stressed that the demolition in the Palasan community in Barangay (village) La Huerta was “illegal.”
Palasan residents also criticized the issuance of writ of possession.
The groups alleged that the ownership of the land is still pending at the Land Registration Authority as LRA Case 97-0111.
Robert Labrador of AMP said, “We ask Mayor Florencio Bernabe to mediate and communicate with Mr. Mike Velarde for a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the land dispute.”
Velarde’s subdivision, Amvel, is situated right beside the Palasan community.