Payatas:
Marks 12th year of the July 10, 2000 garbage landslide
that killed more than 300 residents

Photos taken a week after the tragedy

 

July 10,  2012

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School children on their way to school, a bulldozer (left, top of mountain of garbage) at work
   


 
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The mountain of garbage is where they will extract their income for the day.
A similar mountain of garbage killed more than 300 residents when it collapsed.
 

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The Payatas Tragedy: Breaking the Silence
by Ilang-Ilang Dumo Quijano


A year has passed since the morning of July 10, when the mountain of garbage at Payatas dumping site in Quezon City collapsed upon an entire community at its foot, wiping out its residents and destroying their homes.

But society has turned silent after its brief calls for government retribution, and Payatas now seems like just any another neglected urban poor area.

Except that above the noise of buzzing flies on its garbage heaps, the angry voices of the victims can still be heard. They struggle to tell, not of the famous tragedy anymore, but the tragedy of their past, and how it continues up to the present.

Tale of the Land of Promise

Ironically, its original settlers birthed the place Lupang Pangako or Land of Promise. The 1,000 families who were evicted by former Quezon City Mayor Jun Simon from the LBP compound in Quezon Boulevard sought to establish new residence in Payatas, then a grassy, abandoned area.

By 1992, despite poverty and lack of government support, they had managed to acquire electricity, build homes, cemented roads, and a transport system through their collective efforts.

But to their surprise came the onslaught of garbage trucks. Without their consent, the local government had designated Payatas as the dumping site of trash collected from Quezon City and later, the whole of Metro Manila. They started to awake to toxic fumes that permeated the air all day. Aside from the usual wastes of urban living, salvaged bodies and bodies from morgues added to the residents' trauma. Slowly, a mountain was formed, blocking out the midday sun and burying the promise of Payatas.

Angry at this phenomenon, residents initially brought their protest to the Barangay Chair Emerita Pecson in 1992. But they discovered a system of profit that they claim she, along with other government officials, benefited from. It hampered the moves to stop, and in effect, even sustained the operations.

Two hundred and fifty trucks were destined to Payatas twice a day. Each truck paid P50 to former Mayor Mel Mathay's local government office and P30 to its barangay officials. This amounted to a profit of P40,000 each day.

They further accuse that collaboration took place between former Mayor Mel Mathay's and his son, incumbent congressman Chuck Mathay who owns the garbage trucks under Ren Transport.

Since seventy five percent of the residents did not have decent jobs, they inevitably made a living out of the despairing condition. Many of them, including their children, ended up as "mangangalahib", or scavengers. They immersed themselves into garbage all day, only to end up with an average income of P70 per day. A bottle of mineral water can only be sold to a junk shop for P2, for example. To avoid the heat of the sun that added to the suffocation of rotting trash, some of them worked at night, making it even more dangerous.

The Tragedy

The Payatas tragedy shook the already tragic existence of its residents. 300 people were confirmed dead and buried. 87 more were left unearthed from their early graves.

But a year after, justice is still withheld from all of its victims. The civil case that was filed against several government officials to account for the deaths remains unresolved.

Worse than this, the lives of survivors are yet to be accounted for by the government, which not only created, but also sustained its' tragedy.

Survivors' Saga

Anxious to appease the victims, the National Housing Authority relocated 396 families to Kasiglahan Village in Montalban. But it costs half a million pesos for a family to occupy a small, 36-square meter house for 25 years. Besides, water supply is scarce, and electricity is often cut off. Diseases such as diarrhea and dengue plague its residents.

Most still jobless, they cannot afford the rent for similarly debased living conditions. Instead, they simply go back to Payatas to resume scavenging.

Meanwhile, those residents who stayed at Payatas are back to their old way of life. Since relief goods and aid from the government have been reduced to a mere trickle, they are coping with the hardships of urban poverty alone.

The local government refuses to put up a recycling area from which the residents can subsist more reasonably. They remain largely scavengers working in a toxic environment and barely getting three meals a day.

So even as the Department of Health conducts health missions, they remain vulnerable to diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Even as President Arroyo offers scholarship programs, most children are still forced to substitute regular schooling for scavenging. They are yet to be uplifted from below the threshold of proper health and education.

In spite of this, the inhabitants of Lupang Pangako refuse to leave. Incensed and righteous, their stand is "Basura ang paalisin, huwag ang tao". But the government is not heeding this call. Within a year of the tragedy, Mel Mathay once again opened a nearby site for dumping. This had already caused two garbage landslides, one of which killed a teenage boy. Thus, a repeat of the tragedy is not unlikely.

Newly-elect Mayor Sonny Belmonte has promised to permanently close Payatas to dumping. But due to their experiences, the residents no longer wish to be reduced to hoping. They continue to organize themselves instead, and demand much delayed retribution from the government.

A year after, the angry voices of victims are not anymore speaking of the Payatas tragedy as the sudden death of their loved ones and the destruction of their homes. It is ruin of everyday poverty on their lives, first brought about by the government's desire for profit and protracted by its seeming resolve to ignore it.

Without society backing up their calls for government retribution, Payatas is in danger of becoming a permanently neglected area, and its residents may never be the given the social justice they deserve, just like the rest of the country's urban poor.

 

     
     
     
           
     
 
     
     

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PRAYMER HINGGIL SA TRAHEDYA SA PAYATAS
(Inihanda ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap - KADAMAY)

Noong umaga ng Hulyo 10, 2000, habang ikinakasa ang pambansang welga at protesta laban sa panibagong pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, niyanig ng malakas na pagsabog at kasunod na pagguho ng bundok ng basura sa Payatas ang komunidad ng maralita ng Lupang Pangako. Marami ang namatay at nasugatan. May ilan na nakaligtas. Alamin ang mga kaganapan at iba't ibang usapin kaugnay sa makasaysayan at nag-iisang klase ng trahedyang ito. Kaugnay nito, naghanda ang Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) upang makatulong sa paglilinaw sa trahedya sa Payatas. May dalawang lokal na organisasyon ang KADAMAY sa pinangyarihan ng trahedya, sa Phase II, Lupang Pangako. Ito ay ang Samahang Tunay ng Mamamayan sa Phase II, Payatas B, at ang Samahang Magkakapitbahay sa Payatas (SANGKAP). Karamihan sa mga apektado ay kasapi ng dalawang organisasyon.

1. Relocation ba o dumpsite ang pinangyarihan ng trahedya?


Naganap ang trahedya sa Phase II, Lupang Pangako, Payatas B. Natabunan ang 7 purok sa Phase II. Ito ay ang purok 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 at 17.

Ang Payatas Estate na may kabuuang 2,818 ektarya ay sumasaklaw ng anim na barangay kabilang na ang Batasan Hills, Bagong Silangan, Commonwealth, Holy Spirit, Fairview at mismong Payatas. Nahahati ang Payatas sa dalawang bahagi (A at B).

Ang Payatas Dumpsite na may kabuuang 30 ektarya naman ay matatagpuan lamang sa Payatas B. Binubuo ito ng dalawang bahagi, ang tinatawag na Lesser Dumpsite na may 11 ektarya na pag-aarin ni Sandra Cox at ang Greater Dumpsite na 19 ektarya na bahagi ng Halili Estate. Isang bahagi ng Dumpsite ang nasa Lupang Pangako.

Ang Lupang Pangako na dati'y tinatawag na Urban ay nahahati naman sa 4, mula Phase I hanggang Phase IV. Nasa Phase II lamang ang trahedya sapagkat ito lamang sa apat na Phase ang nasa tabi ng Dumpsite.

Ang mga biktima ng nangyaring trahedya sa Phase II ay mga maralitang-lunsod, mga manggagagawa at mala-manggagawa. Hindi lahat ay mangangalahig (scavenger) na pangunahing umaasa ng kanilang ikinabubuhay sa bundok ng basura tulad ng gustong ipalaganap ng reaksyunaryong pamahalaan.

Hindi ang maralita ang lumapit sa Dumpsite tulad din ng sinasabing propaganda ng gubyerno. Ang Dumpsite ang lumapit sa mga maralita.

Ang mga taga-Phase II ay mga lehitimong relocatees mula sa Tatalon at iba pang bahagi ng QC na naging biktima na ng 3 hanggang 7 demolisyon sa kanilang buhay. Narelocate sila sa Lupang Pangako (dating Urban) noong 1987 at 1988. Noon, kasingtaas lamang ng lupa ang Dumpsite at may layo itong 3 kilometro sa kanilang komunidad. Isang natural na creek ang naghihiwalay sa Dumpsite at komunidad ng maralita.

2. Gaano na karami ang biktima ng trahedya?
Isang linggo matapos ang trahedya (as of July 17, 6 p.m.), may 191 katao na ang natagpuang patay, 64 dito ang hindi pa nakikilala. Tinatayang halos 150 katao pa ang hindi pa natatagpuan. (Binubuo pa rin ang eksaktong bilang ng nawawala batay sa datos ng mga lider ng bawat purok na apektado.)

Kabilang sa mga nawawala/nasawi sina Noel Furescal, isa sa mga unang organisador ng mga maralita sa Payatas at dating lider manggagawa sa JD Transport at organisador ng Bus Industry Alliance (BUSINA), Rudy Gino (unang presidente ng SANGKAP-KADAMAY) at kanyang pamilya, mga kapamilya ni Delia Badion (tagapangulo ng KADAMAY NGC-Payatas), at sina Erot, Manuel, Nognog at Binong na pawang mga kasapi ng ANAKBAYAN-KADAMAY.

May 42 naman ang nasa iba't ibang ospital/lugar pagamutan sa iba't ibang kalagayan. Sa East Avenue Medical Center - 22, National Orthopedic Hospital - 1, Fairview General Hospital - 2, Philippine Children's Medical Center - 1, Montalban General Hospital - 1, Quirino Memorial Hospital - 4, National Center for Mental Health - 1, at nasa onsite na klinika - 10.

May 434 bahay ang natabunan ng basura at 10 bahay naman ang natupok ng sunog. Tinatayang aabot sa 3000 katao ang kabuuang bilang ng apektado sa pitong purok ng nangyaring trahedya.

3. Kumusta ang kalagayan sa evacuation center?
Tumatayong evacuation center ang Lupang Pangako Elementary School. Matatagpuan ito sa Phase I katabi ang kapilya ng Ina ng Lupang Pangako.

May 548 pamilya o 2,419 katao ang nasa evacuation center ngayon. Nagsisiksikan sa bawat kwarto ang 40-60 pamilya. Halos wala nang espasyong maaaring tulugan ang mga naririto.

Ngunit hindi lahat ng nasa evacuation center ay biktima ng trahedya ng pagguho ng basura. Lumobo ang bilang na ito sapagkat inilikas din ang mga pamilya mula sa ibang purok na pinangangambahang tatamaan ng panibagong pagguho at aabutin ng tumataas na tubig-baha. Mayroon ding mga nagsasamantala sa relief at donasyon na hindi taga-Phase II o sa lugar na apektado.

Wala pang epidemyang kumakalat sa evacuation center ngunit hindi malayong mangyaring ito sa kasalukuyang siksik at hindi makataong kalagayan ng evacuation center. Laganap sa ngayon ang respiratorial diseases tulad ng ubo at sipon.

Pinaghahandaan na rin silang paalisin ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Quezon City (QC) sa pamumuno ni Mel Mathay. Isang linggo nang walang klase ang mga dating estudyante sa nasabing eskwelahan.

4. May ginagawa ba ang gubyerno sa mga apektado?
Maliban sa matumal na relief and rescue operations na pinangangasiwaan ng lokal na pamahalaan ng QC at ng National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) ng Armed Forces of the Philippines sa pamumuno ni Col. Jaime Canatoy, sinisimulan na ring ilipat ang mga apektado sa Kasiglahan Village I ng Erap City sa Rodriguez, Rizal (dating Montalban).

Batay sa huling ulat (as of July 17, 6 p.m.), may 70 pamilya na ang inilipat sa Erap City. Ngunit napabalitang umaangal ang mga nailipat sapagkat hindi pa naaayos ang lugar at bahay na pinagtapunan sa kanila. Masyado raw itong malayo at doon ay wala silang trabaho o mapagkakakitaan. (Basahin at sumangguni sa artikulo ukol sa Erap City sa bagong isyu ng Abante KADAMAY.)

Ayon kay Mathay, hindi magbibigay ng anumang pinansyal na tulong ang gubyerno sa mga apektado ng nangyaring trahedya. Nakahanda lang daw itong magbigay ng libreng pang-ospital at pampalibing sa mga biktima. Ngunit hanggang ngayon, inaabangan pa rin ng mga biktima ang pangakong tulong ni Mathay.

Nag-aalok naman ng Balik-Probinsya ang gubyerno sa pangunguna ni Sec. Antonio Cerilles ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Nakakatawa pang nangako ito ng 3 ektaryang libreng relokasyon sa probinsyang uuwian ng bawat tao. Kung tunay na repormang agraryo sa kanayunan ay wala pa, 3 ektarya pa kaya sa mga probinsya.

5. Dapat bang isisi sa maralita ang trahedya?
Hindi. Sapagkat hindi ginusto ng maralitang manirahan sa tabi ng bundok ng basura. Kung may oportunidad at kabuhayan na ibinibigay ang pamahalaan, walang sinuman ang magnanais na tumira sa ganitong klaseng lugar.

Hindi rin kasalanan ng mga taga-Payatas ang nangyaring trahedya. Nauna silang tumira roon kaysa sa sumulpot na bundok ng basura. Mga lehitimong relocatees sila sa Lupang Pangako bago pa nagkaroon ng higanteng Dumpsite.

Dapat sisihin at singilin ang gubyernong Estrada at ang lokal na pamahalaan ng QC at Barangay Payatas sa nangyaring trahedya, hindi ang mga maralita o ang bagyong Edeng.

Si Estrada na pangulo ng bansa ang pangunahing maysala sapagkat hinayaan nito ang kanyang mamamayan na manirahan katabi ang panganib na hatid ng bundok ng basura. Sa kabila ng pagpapanggap nitong maka-mahirap, wala itong anumang ginawa para maitaguyod ang karapatan sa disenteng tirahan, kabuhayan at serbisyong panlipunan ng mga taga-Payatas. Masaklap pa, hanggang ngayon, hindi pa ito nagsasalita, kahit pakikiramay, sa naganap, habang nakidalamhati na si Pope John Paul at Clinton ng Amerika.

Sangkot din sa trahedya si Mel Mathay, ang mayor ng QC, at si Payatas Barangay Captain Emerlita Pecson. Nasa ilalim ng kanilang direktang pangangasiwa at jurisdiction ang Dumpsite. Sa ilalim ng kanilang administrasyon, nagpatuloy ang pagtaas ng Dumpsite patungo sa mga komunidad ng maralita sa Phase II.

May alegasyon na ang anak ni Mayor Mathay, si Chuck Mathay, ay isa sa mga kontraktor at operator ng garbage collection sa Dumpsite na kumikita ng milyon kada linggo. Konsehal ng lokal na pamahalaan ng QC si Chuck at tumatayo siyang pinuno ng Pusong Makabayan, ang pasimuno ng negosyong Community Mortgage Program (CMP) sa Lupang Pangako.

6. Sinu-sino ba ang biktima ng trahedya?
Mga maralitang manggagawa at mala-manggagawa ang biktima o apektado ng nangyaring trahedya. Ang Payatas ay may kabuuang populasyon na 311,502 ayon sa datos ng gubyerno noong 1995. Ngayong taong 2000, halos nadoble na raw ito ayon sa mga taga-Payatas. Tinatayang may 450,000 hanggang 600,000 ang populasyon ngayon ng Payatas.

Malaking bahagi ng populasyon ay mga manggagawa at mala-manggagawa sa loob at labas ng Payatas. Kabilang na rito ang 3000 mangangalahig, 400 manggagawa sa mga junkshop, mahigit 1000 manggagawa ng REN Transport, 2000 drayber, libu-libong manininda, at iba pa. Marami rin sa kanila ang walang trabaho kaya't napipilitang humanap ng ikabubuhay sa Dumpsite.

Poorest of the poor daw ang mga biktima mula sa Lupang Pangako, Payatas, ayon kay Pope John Paul. Dumaraing na nga sa labis na kahirapan, pinagsasamantalahan at pinagkakakitaan pa sila ng iilan. Noong maagang bahagi ng dekada 90, ipinaloob ang ilan sa kanila sa programang CMP ng institusyong Pusong Makabayan ni Chuck Mathay. Hirap na nga sa araw-araw, pinipilit pa silang magbayad ng di bababa sa P1000 kada buwan bilang amortisasyon.

Ang CMP ay isang mapanlokong programa sa palupa at pabahay ng gubyerno. Para maging may-ari ng lupa, papagbayarin nito ang mga maralita ng libo kada buwan bilang amortisasyon sa loob ng 25 taon. Kailangan ding magbayad ng maralita sa mga institusyong sangkot sa CMP para sa pagsasarbey, pag-aayos ng papeles, pagmumuhon, at iba pa. Binibigyan nito ng ilusyon na kayang bayaran at tapusin ito ng maralita sa kabila ng kanilang hikahos na kalagayan. Ngunit ang totoo, pinagkakakitaan lamang sila ng pamahalaan.

Sapagkat walang anumang serbisyong panlipunan na ibinibigay sa kanila ang gubyernong Estrada, pinagkakakitaan din sila sa tubig at kuryenteng ginagamit sa araw-araw.

Iisa lang ang supplier ng tubig sa Lupang Pangako, ang tinatawag na Osmosis na malapit sa palengke. Nagbabayad sila dito ng ___ sa bawat galon ng tubig.

Nagbabayad naman sila ng halos P10 kada kilowatt-hour sa kuryente sa mga mayayamang pribadong supplier nito sa komunidad. May ilan naman na nasa ilalim ng Depressed Area Electricity Program (DAEP) ng MERALCO. Mabilis silang ipinaloob sa DAEP upang maiwasan ang diumano ay malaganap na pagnanakaw ng kuryente ng mga maralita.

7. May programa ba ang gubyerno para sa mga maralita ng Payatas?
May programang Payatas 2000 ang gubyernong Estrada ngunit hindi ito para sa kapakinabangan ng mga maralita, kundi para ito sa mga dayuhang monopolyo kapitalista, burgesya kumprador at panginoong maylupa.

Unang binuo ang Payatas 2000 noong panahon ni Ramos sa bisa ng Administrative Order No. 92 bilang bahagi ng Medium Term Philippine Development Plan. Maliban sa mga itatayong gusali ng mga ahensya ng gubyerno sa tinatawag na National Government Center (NGC) at sa maramihang pagtatayo ng mga commercial, industrial at economic zones, balak ding ipasara ang Dumpsite at sa halip ay magtayo dito ng waste transshipment plant ng Phoenix Corporation ng US. Sa planta, iipunin at paghihiwalayin lamang ang mga basura (garbage segregation) pero magbabayad ang gubyerno ng $12 kada toneladang basura sa nasabing dayuhang kumpanya.

Kailanman ang ganitong mga "proyektong pangkaunlaran" ay hindi nakabuti sa maralita. Ipinatutupad sa ilalim ng patakarang liberalisasyon, deregulasyon, at pribatisasyon, ibebenta sa mga dayuhan at lokal na mamumuhunan ang mga lupaing publiko para pagtayuan ng kanilang mga negosyo.

Ibayong kahirapan naman ang magiging dulot nito sa libu-libong maralitang-lunsod. Wala na nga silang disenteng tirahan at kabuhayan, aalisan pa sila nito ng pamahalaan. Iaanak ng planong Payatas 2000 at pagsasara o closure ng Dumpsite ang malawakang demolisyon ng mga komunidad. Pagkawasak ng kanilang tahanan, itatapon naman sila sa mga impyernong relokasyon at mass housing ng gubyernong Estrada. Sa panibagong paglilipatan na ito, wala na nga silang kabuhayan at serbisyong panlipunan na matatanggap, pagkakakitaan pa sila ng mga buwayang developer at pamahalaan.

8. Ano ang malalaking usapin sa likod ng trahedya sa Payatas?
Ibayong kahirapan na dinaranas ngayon ng mamamayan at ang iresponsibilidad at kapabayaan ng pamahalaan sa kanilang kalagayan ang malalaking usapin sa likod ng trahedyang naganap sa Payatas na dapat pag-usapan.

Tumatampok na isyu ang episyenteng pangangasiwa at pagtatapon ng basura sa Kamaynilaan ngunit hindi napag-uusapan ang kahirapang nagtutulak sa maraming dukha sa bansa na tumira sa mga lugar na itinuturing na mapanganib tulad ng Dumpsite, tabing-riles, tabing-ilog, at iba pa.

Nanatiling hikahos ang milyun-milyong maralitang-lunsod sa bansa, kasama na ang mga taga-Payatas. Higit pa, papabulusok at lalong humihirap ang kanilang katayuan sanhi ng kapabayaan at iresponsibilidad ng kasalukuyang gubyernong Estrada. Sa Payatas, matatagpuan natin na walang kahit anumang programa para sa probisyon ng disenteng tirahan, kabuhayan at serbisyong panlipunan.

Ang mga programa ng gubyerno ay pawang para sa kabutihan ng dayuhan at iilang naghaharing-uri sa bansa. Kung mayroon mang itong programa diumano para sa mahihirap, tiyak na ito'y isa lamang tusong iskema para pagkakitaan pa iyong mga naghihikahos na tulad ng kanyang ipinagmamalaking negosyong mass housing.

Matapos ang trahedya, balak na ng gubyerno na tuluyan nang ipasara ang Dumpsite. Inaasahan ang malawakang demolisyon sa komunidad ng Payatas. Ganundin ang maaaring maganap sa iba pang maikukunsiderang danger area dahil sisikapin na ng gubyerno na umiwas sa kahihiyan.

May ilang utak-lamok na kongresista ang nagpapanukalang alisin ang mga mapagkunwaring demokratikong probisyon sa konsultasyon na nilalaman ng Republic Act No. 7279 (Urban Development and Housing Act). Mayroon man o wala ang nasabing probisyon, ang katotohanan sa kasalukuyang karanasan ng maralitang-lunsod maraming demolisyon na isinasagawa nang walang konsultasyon.

Hindi masosolusyunan ng balaking demolisyon ang kahirapan na dinaranas ng maralitang mamamayan. Walang maitutulong ang mga relokasyon at pinoproyektong mass housing ng gubyernong Estrada bagkus lalo lamang nitong palalalain ang hirap na katayuan ng mga maralita.

Hanggang hindi napapalaya ang malaking bilang ng mamamayan mula sa kahirapan, asahan na babalik at babalik, at mas dadami pa ang maralita na ating matatagpuan sa mga lugar tulad ng Payatas.

9. Ano ang mga kahilingan ng mga biktima ng trahedya?
Simpatiya, suporta at katarungan ang mga pangunahing kahilingan ng mga maralitang biktima ng trahedya sa Payatas. Kailangan ang pakikiisa at pakikiramay sa dalamhating kanilang dinaranas. Kailangan din ang kagyat na suportang pangkabuhayan at pangkalusugan sa lahat ng apektado. Higit sa lahat kailangang singilin at papanagutin ang mga maysala sa nangyaring man-made na trahedya.

Narito ang kanilang sumusunod na mga panawagan:

1. Tuluy-tuloy na tapusin ang pagligtas at pagbawi sa lahat ng natabunan.
2. Libre at kagyat na pagpapalibing at pagpapa-ospital ng lahat ng apektado.
3. Kagyat na kaginhawaan at rehabilitasyon.
4. Itigil ang paninisi sa mga maralita.
5. Kagyat na pagbibigay ng libreng pabahay at kabuhayan sa loob ng Payatas Estate.
6. Bigyan ng bayaring-pinansyal ang bawat biktima ng trahedya.
7. Papanagutin ang lahat ng maysala sa kanilang kriminal at administratibong kapabayaan at pananagutan.


10. May maitutulong ba ang sambayanan sa mga biktima?

Maraming maitutulong ang lahat ng mamamayan sa mga biktima ng naganap na trahedya sa Payatas. Upang ipanawagan, ikoordina at isistematisa ang lahat ng uri ng suporta, mabilis nating binuo ang TASK FORCE DAMAYAN sa pangunguna ng KADAMAY, KMU, TFUC-AMRSP, NCCP, UCCP, PCPR, CHD, CDRC, IOHSAD, Salinlahi, BAYAN, CRC, Anakbayan, at marami pang iba.

Mahigpit na kailangan ang anumang klase ng suportang materyal at pinansyal para sa kagyat at temporaryong kaginhawaan ng mga biktima. Palaganapin ang panawagang ito. Maaaring ipadala ang mga donasyon sa anumang tanggapan ng TASK FORCE DAMAYAN sa

Tasf Force on Urban Conscientization -
Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (TFUC-AMRSP)
Room 309, UCCP Building, 877 EDSA, QC
tel. nos. 920-6334 loc 118, 924-0215 loc 118, 412-3174, 413-9358

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)
Quinto Compound, Barangay Kristong Hari, Tomas Morato Ave., QC
tel. nos. 414-6539, 721-4820 loc 21

Inaasahan din ang mabilis at napapanahong paglalabas ng mga pahayag at posisyon natin kaugnay sa trahedya at sa mga sumusulpot na mga bagong kaganapan.

Suportahan din at lumahok sa mga tampok na aktibidad na ilulunsad at ipapanawagan ng TASK FORCE KADAMAY, partikular ang mga sumusunod:

July 18 Memorial Mass/Procession
July 19 Pasiyam
Piket sa QC Hall
July 21 NATIONAL SYMPATHY PROTEST, 6 pm
Peoples Declaration Laban kay Erap, 9 pm
July 24 Pambansang Protesta sa SONA

 


▲ Going to school in clean uniforms  ▼
 

Kids at work
 
     
     
     
     
     
     

Working the garbage to earn and live
 
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     
           
     
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The streets of Payatas
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The residents have their standard for cleanliness. The street may look dirty to most in its natural state because of the garbage all around but the residents sweep the street regulary to maintain its relative cleanliness and keep the garbage in their proper place.
 

           

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THE PAYATAS CLASS SUIT

Press Statement
July 17, 2000
Contact Numbers: 899-3416; 899-3439; 861-1771; 0917-905-8772; 0917-521-5577

PAYATAS CLASS SUIT MONEY CLAIMS
TO BE USED FOR VICTIMS' LIVELIHOOD,
THERAPY AND REHABILITATION, RELOCATION
AND HOUSING, AND RAISING OF SOCIAL AWARENESS
OF URBAN POOR
--PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER (PILC)

The class suit to be filed next week by the victims and their relatives and survivors of the July 10, 2000 Payatas tragedy is unique and novel. First of all, the tragedy itself has no parallel in human memory whether in the Philippines or anywhere in the world. Mass deaths and killings caused by natural calamities or the criminal acts and negligence of man may be a common human experience especially in the Philippines. But, Filipinos and foreigners alike found it unthinkable that hundreds of families could be buried alive, together with their shanty homes, in an instant by an avalanche of garbage that is also their source of livelihood.

This singular incident in a tiny eleven-hectare privately owned dump site in a community ironically called Lupang Pangako (Promised Land) highlighted fundamental problems and issues that confront urban poor Filipinos who are better known as squatters or slum dwellers. Among them are: the impotence and lack of political will of both the national and local officials to address the garbage disposal and waste management problem, a very basic social service; the criminal neglect by public officials of the plight of millions of urban poor Filipinos throughout the country;


the obscene priorities of the national government in the allocation of its limited resources by using a large portion of these resources for pork barrels, payment of foreign debt, and the all-out war in Central Mindanao; and the need to form a strong, active and enlightened organization of urban poor Filipinos so that their voices and numbers can become a strong force in addressing their problems and the larger problems of Philippine society.

The class suit will not enrich the families of the victims. PILC, as a law firm of human rights lawyers, has entered into a covenant with the class plaintiffs and their organizations that in case of a successful law suit the money which will be recovered from the defendants as compensatory, moral and exemplary damages, including attorney's fees will be pooled in a common fund and placed under the management of a foundation. This common fund will be used for livelihood projects that will uplift the economic conditions of the families of the victims, therapy and rehabilitation of the survivors of the tragedy by competent medical staff and institutions, relocation and housing for the families of the victims, and the education to raise the social awareness and to organize the urban poor population of the country into a strong united and militant organization.


ROMEO T. CAPULONG
President and Managing Counsel

MARIE F.T.J. YUVIENGCO
Executive Diretor

 

     
     
           
     
     
     
The sari-sari stores of Payatas

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KADAMAY on DILG moratorium order
A brief victory for the urban poor due to militant assertion, a shortsighted solution by the government

“It is a brief and temporary gain for the urban poor in Metro Manila brought forth by their militant assertion to defend their homes and livelihood. But the battle is far from over.”

This was the reaction of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) on DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo’s order to put on hold all planned demolition operations in the National Capital Region.

“The urban poor communities in Metro Manila have lead time now to further strengthen their barricade lines while communities nationwide prepare for future battles,” said Carlito Badion, Kadamay Vice Chair. But the group was quick to dispel any hope from the government.

“The DILG order shows the shortsightedness of the Aquino administration in dealing with the problem of informal settlers,” Badion said.

“Robredo's action was merely ordering NCRPO to review policies and procedures during demolition. The problem as to why the urban poor risk their lives and limbs to prevent demolition is not being addressed," Badion reacted.

He added that the order covers only Metro Manila while demolition attempts are as well on their way in other cities and regions. After the violent demolition of San Roque in September 23, 2010 resulting in a fiery street clash in EDSA between residents and government forces, President Aquino declared a nationwide moratorium and ordered the formation of a DILG Technical Working Group (TWG).

“Nothing actually happened with Robredo’s recommendations to President Aquino from the TWG results in March 2011 as they were never implemented. Even Robredo seems to have deserted his own policy recommendations," Badion said.

"The Secretary, for all his wisdom, should know that the review he ordered is simply for naught unless there is a significant change in framework and policies,” Badion said.

“For as long as the urban poor are considered by the government to be polluters, causing congestion, depreciating land value, preventing development of area, and completely disregarded by evicting them off to far-flung relocation sites without jobs and livelihood, urban poor unrest will continue,” said Badion. ###

Media Release 28
April 2012
Reference: Carlito Badion, Kadamay national vice chair, 0939.387.3736

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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Libong maralita, nagsampa ng kaso sa Korte Suprema para ipatigil ang demolisyon
 

PRESS RELEASE l Marso 23, 2012

ALYANSA KONTRA DEMOLISYON
Reference: Carlito Badion, AKD co-convenor, 0939.387.3736

Nagmartsa mula sa Plaza Salamanca patungong Korte Suprema ngayong tanghali ang aabot sa tatlong libong maralita sa iba't ibang komunidad sa Metro Manila upang iparating sa mga mahestrado ang kanilang panawagan na ulitin ng mga SC Justices ang ginawa nitong maka-maralitang desisyon hinggil sa Hacienda Luisita.

Pinuno ng mga maralita ang kahabaan ng Faura St sa Manila sa pagkilos ngayong araw.

Isinampa ng mga lider ng mga samahan ng maralitang lungsod na saklaw ng Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon sa papanguguna ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap ngayong hapon ang isang kasong kumwekestyon sa 'constitutionality' ng ilang seksyon sa Republic Act 7279 o Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA). Bukas ang ika-20 taon ng UDHA bilang batas matapos itong ipasa sa panunungkulan ni Corazon Aquino noong Marso 24, 1992.

Ayon kay Carlito Badion, lider ng Kadamay at co-convenor ng AKD, ang pagkilos ngayong araw ay naglalayong maipakita sa mga mahestrado ang dami ng mga biktima ng kaliwa't kanang demolisyong nananalasa sa ilalim ng administrasyong Aquino.

Sa kasong isinampa na isang 'Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,' binanggit ang pandaigdigang karapatan ng maralita para sa disenting paninirahan ayon Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Binanggit din sa nasabing kaso ang naging report ni Mr. Miloon Kothari, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing na nagsasaad na "may karapatan ang bawat tao para sa sariling bahay, at lupa.”

Nais ng nasabing kaso na ideklara ng Korte Suprema na 'unsconstitutional' ang Sekyon 28 (a) at (b) ng RA 7279. Ang mga ito umano ay labag sa Article XIII ng 1987 Philippine Constitution.

‘Respondent’ ng nasabing kaso sa Korte Suprema sina JESSIE ROBREDO, bilang kalihim ng Department of Interior and Local Government, ang GENERAL MANAGER ng NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, at sina Hon. GUIA GOMEZ, Hon. HERBERT BAUTISTA at Hon. JOHN REY TIANGCO, mga alkalde ng lungsod ng dumanas ng mga malalalang kaso ng demolisyon ng maralitang komunidad.

Ayon pa kay Badion, ang ginawa nilang pagsasampa ng kaso laban sa UDHA ay isa lamang sa mga paraan nila upang mapigilan ang mga demolisyong kinakaharap ng sektor sa buong bansa.

Ayon sa datos ng Demolition Watch Network, higit sa 16,000 sa Metro Manila pa lamang ang naging biktima ng malawakan at mararahas na demolisyon sa 20 komunidad sa ilalim ng administrasyong Aquino.

"Nanatili pa ring sa malakas na pagdepensa ng mga komunidad sa pamamagitan ng mga barikdang bayan nakakamit ng mga maralita ang kanilang karapatan para sa disenteng paninirahan," dagdag ni Badion. ###


MGA TAMPOK NA PROYEKTONG NAGDULOT NG DEMOLISYON NG MGA KOMUNIDAD AT MGA NAAPEKTUHANG MARALITANG PAMILYA

South Rail-North Rail Linkage Project
South NCR (28,000)
Manila (16,000)
Kalookan (20,000)

Floodway Project
Pasig (25,000)

R-10 Road widening
Navotas (4,000)

Manila to Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project
Pasay (25,000)

Skyway Project
Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa (5,000)

Pocket Demolitions
NCR-wide (64,000)

The shanties of Payatas
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     
Relief operations after the Payatas tragedy

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[Kadamay sees no reason for Aquino’s continued stay in the Palace] Thousands march in Manila to call for drastic change in PH politics
 

PRESS RELEASE I MARCH 23, 2012
Referenctie: Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national secretary-general (0921.3927457)

Led by militant group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), a militant alliance of urban poor in the country, some 4,000 Filipinos from different urban poor organizations marched Manila roads today from Supreme Court to Mendiola calling for a significant change in the country’s political system. The big march in Manila had simultaneous urban protest actions in Metro Baguio, Davao and Cebu, among other cities and urban centers nationwide.

The series of militant protests in the national capital in the last few days were fueled by the inaction of the current Aquino regime on the incessant hikes in the prices of oil and petroleum products, and the consequent hikes in the cost of basic commodities and transportation. Violent demolitions of homes also added up to the fury of hungry masses.

“We are terribly disgusted of this system that obviously serves the interests of the ruling few, while it subjects the majority of our population to deep penury,” said Gloria Arellano, national secretary-general of Kadamay. “While our stomachs remain empty because of the record high unemployment rate and the less than livable wage of the workers, the poor have no choice but to bring their demands to the streets, and call for an immediate overhaul of the system that has subjected them to chronic poverty in decades.

No reason to stay in the Palace
“President Aquino is highly incapable to lead the nation as his administration remains subservient to the dictates of the big foreign and local businessmen. “Completely battered by the chronic crisis, the urban poor don’t see any reason for his continued stay in the Palace. He is not just inutile, he is pretending to be competent leader with record of human right violations as worse as his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” said Arellano.

Arellano also cited the Aquino administration's continuing demolition rampage on urban poor communities, which has already left 16,000 families homeless in Metro Manila alone under the Aquino administration, given legality by the anti-poor Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) that will turn 20 years tomorrow.

Kadamay also slammed today the dismissal of the Palace to veto the implementation of the 12% E-VAT on oil and petroleum products despite the deafening call of the public, for as Palace spokesperson Abigail Valte claimed, the action would only be detrimental to the majority of the population.

Widespread Pessimism
“In the light of the incessant oil price hikes and demolition of urban poor communities, the poor are very pessimistic that our condition will be better off under Aquino,” Arellano said. The leader added that unless the government implements a genuine agrarian reform to give equal right to every Filipino for a sure access to source of livelihood, and a national industrialization program uncontrolled by the imperialists primarily oil companies and financial capitalists, there will be no significant changes in the lives of the urban poor.

Different sectors also joined today's march today in Metro Manila led by umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN). While the police were on alert the entire day, Kadamay said they had only exercised a militant assertion of their right to stage protest at the foot of Mendiola. Some 4,000 urban poor started their march from Taft Avenue in Manila through the McArthur Bridge to the populous Avenida Avenue and Recto Avenue. Agitated Kadamay members removed the barricades at the foot of Mendiola and headed to the Mendiola Peace Arch where they staged a program.

Simultaneous protest actions nationwide
The protest march today had simultaneous urban poor protest actions in Davao City Hall, and a march from Plaza Independecia to the front of Gaisano Metro in Cebu City. Urban poor groups also held Stations of the Cross in Baguio City that highlighted the misery of the urban poor sector.

Other urban poor groups under Kadamay in General Santos City and Cagayan de Oro City also expressed their support for the big march in Manila in their statements. Kadamay has labeled today's action as a national day of protest against oil price hikes and demolitions.###

 

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[Thousands join Urban Poor Protest Rally vs. Demolition and Oil Price Hikes] ‘Demolition issues, oil price hikes will spark bigger protests vs. Aquino admin,’ says Kadamay-NCR
 

 

PRESS RELEASE l March 23, 2012
Reference: Joy Lumawod, KADAMAY-NCR Chairperson (0922.5184919)

Thousands of people from different militant urban poor groups will march the streets of Metro Manila today to mark and defy the eve of the 20th year of implementation of Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA). According to the group, the said law, implemented on March 24, 1992, legalized the demolitions, forced evictions, arsons and various forms of destruction of the lives and livelihoods of the people to give way to various projects and businesses of foreign investors.

Since its enactment, UDHA had been referred to by various government officials as an added “excuse” to implement their developmental projects. But UDHA’s existence for the past 20 years did nothing but to further the attacks on the lives and livelihoods of the poor. The law did not serve for the people, rather, it served big businessmen and capitalists, the likes of Ramos, Arroyo, and Aquino, and foreign investors. It legalized demolitions and was a policy made according to the dictate of foreign investors and local capitalist in the form of Public-Private Partnership Projects.

“It is very clear that the current government has no plans of developments that includes and are for the poor people. What the government have are development projects that will not only destroy the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, but are in direct observance to foreign investors’ demands. The government itself announced last year that there will be a massive relocation of more than 556, 000 families. For us, this only means one thing – demolition. And with demolitions comes nothing but the destruction of our lives, our homes, our livelihoods”, says Joy Lumawod, KADAMAY-NCR Chairperson.

It may be recalled that the government issued the said statement last year in lieu of the various Public-Private Partnership Programs that are on its plan of implementation to fulfil its Philippine Development Plan. These PPP Programs includes the reclamation of the Freedom Island and LRT 1 extension in Parañaque-Las Piñas, the constructions of the North Bay Boulevard Business Park in Navotas, the National Government Center and Central Business District in Quezon City, the MRT 7 extension in Pangarap Village, amongst the list of more than 50 PPP Programs.

Lumawod also added, “Aside from the constant threat of demolitions and forced evictions, the poor people are also gravely affected by increasing oil and petroleum and other basic commodities and services’ price hikes. It is not enough for the government to destroy our physical abode and means of livelihood and subsistence. With its other anti-people, pro-businessmen and capitalists policies such as the Oil Deregulation Law and 12% E-Vat on basic commodities and oil products, they are placing far more burden for the poor people to shoulder. But the people will no longer carry further burdens passed by the government. Our collective action today to scream and let out our demands is a clear sign of our unity.”

“Various militant groups will assemble and march from their local communities and will join us one in Mendiola in demanding the immediate action of the government to repeal UDHA and to scrap the Oil Deregulation Law and 12% E-Vat on basic commodities and oil products. It is now time for the people to uprise and to strengthen their fight for their rights to their jobs, homes and social justice. This day will only mark the ever-growing unity and strength of the people and will continue so long as the government in power does not heed the people’s demands,” Lumawod ended. ###
 

     
     
     
     
     

Note the HULAGPOS poster
 
           
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