Urban poor group Kadamay welcomes a recent development in a standoff between the the local government unit (LGU) of Quezon City and Balintawak vendors and other urban poor who work in the markets after the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City issued yesterday a status quo order on the closure of Cloverleaf Market.
On Monday, the QC RTC Branch 98 issued an order allowing, for the meantime, the said market to operate as it had before the closure order was issued by the QC. The court scheduled for Wednesday(Feb. 3), a hearing on a petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) filed by the Balintawak Cloverleaf Market Corporation against the cease and desist order from the LGU.
Kadamay national chair Gloria Arellano Arellano says that the said order is but a temporary victory for the vendors as long as the plan to demolish the markets in the Balintawak Area remains.
The group also discredits the claim of the local government unit of QC that Balintawak markets’ failure to comply with the environmental and sanitary standards is primarily behind the planned closure.
Arellano says that Balintawak vendors are well aware of the real reason behind the planned demolition of Balintawak markets. The leader says the implementation of Ayala’s Cloverleaf Project in the area is the main culprit to blame.
“The fact that a rich family will only benefit from the destruction of livelihood of more than 9,000 urban poor and their families has greatly motivated the resistance of affected vendors and other urban poor in the market just as seen in the past days,” says Arellano.
An initial investment of P15 billion ($337.68 million) over the next 5 years will cover the construction of 8 buildings that will include residential buildings, a regional mall, and a hospital.
The plan also includes transforming an old textile mill covering an 11-hectare lot for the construction of 7 additional buildings for office developments, additional residential towers, and more retail developments. This phase 2 of the project is pegged at P10 billion ($225.13 million).
“The collective resistance of Balintawak urban poor against the closure of the market is no different from the barricades staged by other urban poor groups in Quezon City against the demolition of their communities,” Arellano adds.
According to leader, this urban facelift is part of a city development plan under the Bautista administration that provides for creation five growth centers in Quezon City, including the Munoz-Balintawak growth center, and the full implementation of Zero-Informal Settler Family, also known as the Zero-Squatter Zone policy.
Meanwhile, Estrelieta Bagasbas, an urban poor leader from Sitio San Roque in QC’s North Triangle area says, the Bautista administration in years has been a lackey of Ayala Land Inc. and big businesses while it wages an all-out war against the city’s urban poor population.
Residents of North Triangle have been battling against the planned demolition of their communities since Mayor Herbert Bautista assumed the leadership of the city in 2010.
Another ALI project, the Quezon City Central Business District in the North and East Triangle areas of QC, primarily constitutes another growth center according to the city development plan.
“The urban poor of Quezon City should maximize its collective power to end the current apartheid-like treatment of the QC government to its urban poor population,” says Bagasbas.
“QC has the biggest population of informal settlers in the country at 232,430 families, more than 40% of the city population, and its voting population as well. Aside from bracing each other’s arms in defending our homes and livelihood, an enlightened urban poor population of QC can use their votes to evict Mayor Hebert Baustista from the City Hall,” says Bagasbas.
Kadamay since last year has declared a zero-vote policy for Mayor Bautista citing several cases of demolition of urban poor homes and livelihood in the past five years in accordance to its zero-ISF policy.###