MANILA, August 25, 2011—The United Muslim Association of Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City appealed to the national and city governments to stop the impending demolition of their homes in observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
“We ask City Mayor Herbert Bautista and President [Benigno] Aquino to respect Ramadan, as Muslim people all over the world observe this holy tradition. Their announcement of a demolition by August 31 gives us not even a single day to prepare for the worst scenario,” said Bobby Dicatanongan, UMA president, in a statement.
Ramadan, the Muslim’s holy month of fasting and penance is about to end on the 30th and the City Government said that they will be demolishing the shanties in Sitio San Roque on the 31st. The demolition is in connection with the creation of Quezon City Central Business District (QC-CBD), which the local government said, about three years ago, will be larger, much modern and more beautiful than the business district of Makati City.
However, as expected, the Quezon City government is now preparing for another bloody scenario as the demolition pushes through.
News reports quoting City Adm. Victor Endriga saying that they are expecting the worst scenario of residents violently defending their homes as the relocation sites made available in Rodriguez, Rizal, can only accommodate 7,000 families.
“We expect uprising from 2,000 families. Only 7,000 others have been qualified to avail themselves of the relocation and housing program in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, and Rodriguez, Rizal,” Quezon City administrator Victor Endriga reportedly had said.
Last year, the National Housing Authority, the State housing agency and the Quezon City authorities—including the police and demolition personnel—had had a very violent encounter with residents who do not want to be relocated. There were reports that somebody even had died during the said demolition in September 2010.
While there are relocation sites for the 24,000 urban poor families affected by the transformation of East Triangle, North Triangle, Veterans Hospital and the University of the Philippines’ area into a first class, mixed use business center, said urban poor alliance Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay, most of the family-beneficiaries of the relocation opted to go back to their old place because there are no sources of livelihood in the places where they were relocated.
Meanwhile, the local government’s announcement makes the Moro community in San Roque in a defensive mode, even as they observe fasting during the holy period, according to the Moro leader.
“On our part, we declare a total war against the impending demolition of our community, together with other Christian groups in San Roque,” Dicatanongan said.
“It is our obligation to Allah to defend our holy mosque and the homes of brothers in faith,” he added. (Noel Sales Barcelona)