Makati relocates half of Guatemala residents-A A +A
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
MANILA -- More than half of the total number of families in Guatemala Street, Barangay San Isidro in Makati City has been relocated amid the clearing operations that resulted in violence on Monday, official said.
City Information Officer Joey Salgado, however, said there are still some residents who resist leaving their homes despite of the relocation and financial assistance offers from the City Government.
"We are saddened that there are still some who refuse to move out voluntarily. These are people whom we have identified as landlords renting out spaces to transients. Although majority of the residents at Guatemala Street have agreed to avail themselves of voluntary relocation," Salgado said in a statement.
He added that of the 236 families residing in the area, 137 have moved out after accepting the relocation proposal in Calauan, Laguna, or the financial assistance worth P24,420 offered to those who opted to transfer elsewhere.
Free transportation fare and baggage fees and three-day food assistance were also offered to those who wanted to return to their provinces.
"We appeal to the remaining residents to heed the authorities and not allow themselves to be used by unscrupulous groups who are not really concerned for their welfare, but for their own selfish ends," Salgado added.
According to the Makati Social Welfare Department, nine out of the 17 families who chose to move out are now at the city-owned relocation site in Calauan, while the rest are being scheduled for transfer.
Meanwhile, 25 of the 120 families who accepted the financial assistance have claimed their checks. Eighteen checks are also ready to be claimed and 77 more are being processed for immediate release.
The Makati City Government said the 40-hectare relocation property in Calauan has houses for a family of three to eight members with lots measuring from 40 to 60 square meters.
But militant group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) criticized the relocation offer due to the insufficient resources in the Calauan site.
"The government offers the residents of Guatemala a relocation program in Calauan, Laguna, that not only lacks housing structures, but every facility that a family needs," Kadamay said in a statement.
However, the local government claimed that there are already facilities built in the area including a health center, elementary and high school buildings, three deep wells, a covered court, and a multi-purpose hall.
But as in other demolition incidents, some residents refuse to be relocated since their livelihoods are in Metro Manila.
On Monday, the residents who resisted to be relocated greeted the demolition team members with Molotov cocktails, shards of glasses, rocks, and human wastes.
Sixteen people, including nine policemen and a member of the media, were injured during the incident. Eight residents were also arrested by police authorities.
The violence erupted when the clearing operations team from the city engineering office was about to destroy the houses erected in the targeted demolition area, which was barricaded by the residents.
But the demolition pushed through after authorities used tear gas and water cannon against the residents.
The militant group Kadamay said the urban poor sector will continue to resist demolitions and fight for their homes.
"Amidst all the demolitions in urban poor communities, the urban poor have no choice but to fight back and stand our ground. We will defend our homes against every attempt of demolition by this anti-poor administration," the group said. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)