Church group slams forced eviction of urban poor communities

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MANILA, July 6, 2013—A Church-based group condemned the violence inflicted on urban poor communities as government teams cracked down on informal settlers dwelling along ‘danger zones’ in Metro Manila.

The Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) called on the Aquino administration to avoid violence emphasizing that people in urban poor communities are human beings created with dignity and therefore deserve respect.

Last Monday, clashes erupted between informal settlers and policemen along Agham Road in Quezon City when government demolition team tried to forcibly evict the families from their homes.

“More and more people suffer the same fate as there are similar plans by the government to demolish   urban poor communities this year.  In the same breath, the Aquino government is also using the issue of flooding along the metropolis to justify their move to displace urban poor people living in the so-called ‘danger zone’,” PCPR said in a statement.

“In the midst of on-going massive demolitions, the Aquino administration offers a measly P18,000 per family and/or relocation areas that are far suitable for a decent living. Added to this misery are the absence of employment opportunities and lack of essential social services such as health and education. Worst, they also find themselves in vulnerable and dangerous conditions especially in times of calamity as designated relocation sites are found to be prone to flooding and other natural calamities,” they added.

The group noted that the current administration’s policy and programs towards urban poor did not differ much from the previous administration.

It stated, that instead of identifying the needs of the urban poor and show at the very least a compassionate act, the government considers them as criminals, hindrance to development, eye sores and social dregs.

“On this reality, we demand from the Aquino administration to respect the dignity and life of our brothers and sisters from the urban poor and do its obligation to provide essential social services to the poor people. We call on the local officials not to yield with the national government in inflicting more pain against poor people, instead, protect their rights to have a decent living,” the group said.

PCPR urged the faithful to join hands with the urban poor as they long for decent homes, determine the direction of their lives and craft their future as promised.

“As the Pastoral Message of the Church, Gaudium et Spes, tells us, ‘the joys and the hopes, the grief and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the grief and anxieties of the followers of Christ’,” the group furthered. (Jandel Posion)

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