QC allows barangay execs to destroy illegal structures

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Sunday, February 9, 2014


THE Quezon City government has given barangay chairmen the authority to evict all persons constructing any illegal structure in public or private lands following last month's violent demolition of shanties in Sitio San Roque, Barangay Bagong Pag-asa.

Under Ordinance 2247 passed by the City Council, the barangay chairmen are mandated to coordinate with Task Force COPRISS (Control, Prevention and Removal of Illegal Structures and Squatting), which was created to monitor and curtail illegal occupation of lands.

"Utilized and abandoned real properties in the barangay, whether of public or private ownership shall be used and occupied properly either by government or by legitimate unprivileged Quezon City residents in the barangays and should not be used for business and personal gain," said the ordinance's author Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica.

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The ordinance provides that summary eviction and demolition shall be executed without the need of a court order, provided that the construction must be ongoing and that all persons taking part in the summary eviction must wear proper identification.

The eviction or demolition may be executed only during regular office hours from Mondays to Fridays, during good weather and that no heavy equipment shall be used for the dismantling except for structures that are permanent.

Construction materials from demolished structures shall be confiscated in favor of the barangays should the owner fails to claim the materials within three days after the demolition.

Violators of the ordinance shall be advised to undertake voluntarily demolition of the subject structure and the remove all valuable things inside its premises within three days from the receipt of the notice.

Meanwhile, rights group Karapatan said it will file complaints at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council on the forced eviction, torture and rights violations committed by authorities against San Roque residents.

Karapatan said a 65-year-old male, Resty Torres, died of asthma attack after inhaling tear gas while a pregnant woman, Mary Rose Reyes, had a miscarriage after crawling her way out of the area filled with tear gas.

A certain Ricky Ho was listening to the program held by people's organizations during the barricade when members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team caught and forced him to admit he was among those who threw stones at the police.

"A gun was pointed at him. He was pulled out from the crowd; his head was covered by an empty paint bucket as he was led to police mobile. Members of SWAT hit his body and the bucket on his head with truncheon," said Karapatan, adding the bucket was only removed when they reached the Office of the Ombudsman, and in the presence of media covering the demolition.

Ho was also allegedly kicked by a police officer in the back and his head was hit with a record book during his interrogation at Camp Karingal.

Overall, groups that documented the rights violations such as Kadamay and Karapatan counted 617 evicted individuals, 309 suffocated by tear gas and 44 injured/wounded during demolition/dispersal.

Aside from Ho, the groups said four of the 11 individuals arrested and detained were physically tortured by their arresting officers.

The violations were allegedly perpetrated by the Quezon City police headed by Police Superintendent Pedro Sanchez, Swat and other members of demolition teams including the Task Force COPRISS. (Third Anne Peralta/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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