Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kadamay calls for the urgent release of 'rescued' street dwellers at Manila Boystown

Urban poor group Kadamay registers its demand for the urgent release of street dwellers being held at Manila Boystown, a shelter under the management of the local government of Manila.

This in response to a video released by DZMM’s Radyo Patrol about the complaints of street dwellers who were allegedly deceived by authorities into going to the Boystown in exchange for groceries and foods.

The number of street dwellers rounded up in Manila’s clearing operations rose as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting drew nearer.

On Monday alone, the “rescued” street dwellers were pegged at 300 — a huge leap from the previous 60 a day figure recorded by the city’s local social welfare department.

At least 300 street dwellers from the streets of Manila were were now held at the Manila Boystown in Parang, Marikina, according to Jean Ramos, the Officer-in-Charge of the institution.

Kadamay continues to air its disgust over the purging of street-dwellers by the Aquino government of its window dressing effort in preparation for the Apec summit on November 18-19.

“The habit of purging of street dwellers in Manila has to stop. It is like a modern-day apartheid inflicted against the poor in the name of Apec-endorsed economic development and globalization, " said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson.

“Every time there is a big international event, the government would scramble to hide the poor and homeless from the eyes of the international media and guests. The poor are coerced into joining their ‘rescue’ operation then after, they go back to the streets only to return to their impoverished conditions,” said Arellano.

During the visit of Pope Francis in January, the Aquino government rounded up at least 600 street dweller families from Roxas Boulevard to a resort in Batangas for a five-day CCT ‘program orientation’ to keep them away from the route of the papal motorcade.

Recue operation, not purging

Reach out operations are carried out by a joint team of police, barangay and social workers dubbed as rescue teams. Manila’s six districts have their own rescue teams, according to the social welfare department of Manila.

After the operations, residents are brought to Boystown in Marikina. Non-residents, meanwhile, were taken to Jose Fabella Center in Mandaluyong. They can stay there for three days to two weeks.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo earlier accused the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of plotting to conceal the street dwellers from the Apec’s foreign participants by offering them P4,000 to rent a temporary home.

Meanwhile, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said what her agency was doing was not a clearing-out operation but a “year-long, reach-out program” implemented through the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) and was not part of clearing operations for the Apec summit.

On the contrary, Arellano said that while the DSWD's move is a clear manifestation of the naiveté if not the rudeness of the Aquino administration in dealing with the poor, it is very evident that the Aquino administration has been using the CCT program to advance its own political interests.

"What then happened to the Aquino administration’s Daang Matuwid slogan that that the poor are his bosses," asked Arellano.

Failure to address poverty

"The presence of street dwellers in the streets of the Metro Manila, including the 'illegal' street vendors is a clear manifestation of the failure of not only the Aquino administration but also of APEC to address unemployment and poverty in the country," said Arellano.

"Their presence is actually a slap in the face of Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting delegates who will once again convene to legitimize a more brutal implementation of neoliberal policies that were been proven to be anti-people in the past three decades," she added.

It will be the second for the Philippines to host ang APEC summit since 1996.

Poorer after APEC 1996

According to Kadamay, instead of its promise to alleviate millions of Filipinos from poverty, the the number of poor and hungry Filipinos became record-high since 1996.

Kadamay also cited data from independent think-tank Ibon which claimed the number of Filipino workers who are unemployed and underemployed has grown from 8.3 million in 1996 to 12.2 million this year. Ibon also claims it is the worst job crisis in the history of the country.

Meanwhile, production from the manufacturing sector has dwindled from 25% in 1995-2000 to 22.6% in 2010-2014 as Ibon cited that tens of thousands of small and medium enterprises went bankrupt after losing the local market completion to big multi-national companies.

In its 2014 year-end report, the also think-tank said that 66 million or roughly 68% of the population earns P125 or lead per day. While the profit of top 40 riches businessmen in the country is at record-high P3.4 trillion this year.

“There is an urgent need to turn our back on the neoliberal policies endorsed by Apec in the name of globalization to bring justice to the millions of poor Filipinos, the street dwellers included, that has brought poverty to the country and other poor nations in the last 3 decades,” Arellano ended. ###

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Why do we have to sacrifice?"--Group asks Aquino govt

On International Street Vendors' Day, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) denounces the eviction of street vendors in Metro Manila as part of the Aquino administration's window dressing in time for the the leg of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

According to Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chair, not less than 500 street vendors were evicted from main thoroughfares that lead the APEC venue at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. Meanwhile, the DSWD announced it has cleared Metro Manila of at least 20,000 street-dwellers in time for the APEC.

Kadamay has also monitored that other vendors along streets in Manila which are not included in the route of APEC delegates are told not to sell their goods for a week in time for the final leg of the APEC summit.

"We are angered why we have to sacrifice our livelihood only to show the APEC delegates that we are not a poor nation," said Arellano.

"In case the Aquino government fail to notice, a day without vending is already a big burden to our families. A week without vending is a sabotage already," the leader added.

Meanwhile, violence nearly erupted as authorities cleared food stalls along Mabuhay Lanes in Quezon City Thursday.

A furious vendor questioned why the Aquino government is chasing after poor vendors while the government itself is filled with corrupt officials.

Kadamay has called on the public to condemn the window dressing done by the Aquino government which aims to hide the real situation of Filipinos in the country.

"Hiding the poor Filipinos in time for the APEC betrays the function of APEC as an economic forum," said Arellano.

APEC to further neoliberal policies

But as history has proven, Kadamay expects that APEC 2015 will only further the implementation of neoliberal policies despite the ill-effects to the peoples of poor nations.

Arellano remarked that the neoliberal policies that APEC and other globalization instruments have force-fed on world economies have spelled the death blow to the Philippine economy since the country hosted the summit for the first time in 1996.

Worst job crisis

According to independent think-tank IBON, since APEC 1996, the Philippines has suffered from the worst job crisis in its history with the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos increasing from 8.3 million in 1996 to 12.2 million in 2015.

Kadamay said this job crisis has brought forth millions of semi-worker Filipinos including street vendors.

The country's unemployment rate – whether using IBON's adjusted estimate of 10.4% or the official rate of 7.0% – is the worst in Asia.

Recent unemployment rates in other Asian countries including those at similar levels of economic development as the Philippines are much lower: Brunei (1.1%), Cambodia (0.10%), Indonesia (5.7%), Malaysia (2.9%), Myanmar (4.0%), Singapore (2.0%), Thailand (0.9%), Vietnam (2.2%), South Korea (3.7%), India (3.8%) and China (4.1%). It is not coincidental that the Philippines has among the most liberalized economies among this group.

Kadamay also slams that the Aquino government has been playing up increased employment to showcase the effectiveness of neoliberal programs promoted by forums like the APEC, such as labor flexibilization and contractualization. ###

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don’t leave your post', Manila street dwellers, vendors told

Urban poor group Kadamay calls on street dwellers, vendors in Manila to defy orders by authorities to leave their posts for the final week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

This as the social welfare department under the local government units of Manila, together with national agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, fully implements the clearing of street dwellers in Manila in the guise of its Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which aims to provide home rental and livelihood assistance to street dwellers.

Meanwhile, according to Kadamay, ambulant and stationary vendors on the streets leading to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) were notified to leave their posts for a week during the final week of the APEC summit. The PICC will host the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. on November 18-19.

This afternoon, Kadamay will hold a caravan-protest that aims to reach out to the street dwellers and vendors along Kalaw Ave and other streets leading to the PICC, and to inform them about the ill-effects brought by APEC to the urban poor.

Earlier, the group called Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and Malacanang a hypocrite for denying the governments’ effort to hide street dwellers from Metro Manila’s thoroughfares in preparation for the APEC.

“It is very clear to us and to the general public that the Aquino administration is hiding poverty,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson.

Arellano also claims that to hide the real situation of the poor is like putting bondage over a wound to cover it, without doing the proper and necessary medication.

And as her group expects that APEC delegates will only further the implementation of anti-poor neoliberal policies, the poverty in the country is only bound to worsen.
Opportune time

"We have to remind the APEC summit delegates that their efforts are to blame for the dire condition that majority of Filipinos are suffering. It is in this light that we challenge our fellow urban poor, the street dwellers and vendors of Metro Manila, to defy orders from the authorities to leave their posts, even temporarily or and only within the duration of the AELM," she added.

Arellano also said that it is the most opportune time for the urban poor to shout out their disgust over the neoliberal economic policies that have forced us to become homeless and jobless

According to leader, the neoliberal policies that APEC and other globalization instruments have forced-fed on world economies have spelled the death blow to the local economy since the Philippines hosted the affair for the first time in 1996.

"The ill-effects of neoliberal policies since 1996 have become more imminent, undeniable and unjustifiable," said the leader.

Post-APEC 1996
According to independent think-tank Ibon, since the APEC 1996, the Philippines has suffered from the worst job crisis in its history with the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos increasing from 8.3 million in 1996 to 12.2 million in 2015.

Due to liberalization of trade pushed by APEC, agricultural production has decreased from 21.3% in 1991-2001 to only 10.8% in 2011-2014. Meanwhile, the production in the manufacturing industry has decreased from 25% in 1995-2000 to 22.6% in 2010-2014--the lowest average in 6 decades.

According to Ibon 2014 Year-End report, 66 million Filipinos or 68% of the population live with P125 per day, in contrast to the wealth of top 40 richest Filipino businessmen which earns P3.4 trillion in the 2014. ###

Sunday, October 18, 2015

'Record-high' na bilang ng nagfile ng COC sa pagkapangulo, senyales ng kapalpakan sa pamumuno ni Aquino--Kadamay

Taliwas sa sinasabi ng Malacanang at ng Commision on Election (COMELEC), hindi isang 'vibrant democracy' bagkus ang kahungkagan ng‪#‎DaangMatuwid‬ ng administrasyong Aquino ang dahilan kung bakit maraming mga Pilipino ang nangangahas tumakbo bilang Pangulo ng bansa sa bilang na pinakamataas sa kasaysayan ng bansa.

Ito ang pahayag ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Kalipunan Ng Damayang Mahihirap, isang grupo ng maralitang lungsod.

Ayon sa COMELEC, nag-file ng Certificate of Candidacy (COC) para sa pagkapangulo sa eleksyon sa 2016 ang 130 indibidwal. Samantala, 19 lamang ang nag-file ng COC para sa pagkabise-presidente.

Sa tala ng COMELEC, kumpara sa 2010 presidential election, malayo ang bilang ng nagfile COC para sa pagkapangulo para sa 2016 election.

Noong 2010 election, 90 ang indibidwal ng nag-file ng kanilang COC sa pagkapangulo. 10 lamang sa kanilang ang inaprubahan ng COMELEC na tumakbo sa 2010 presidential election.

"Malinaw sa marami na palpak ang mahigit 5 taong panunungkulan ni BS Aquino bilang pangulo ng bansa kung kaya't maraming ordinaryong Pilipino ang nangangahas ngayong tumakbo para mamuno ng bayan," ani Gloria Arellano, tagapangulo ng Kadamay.

Nagpapakita rin umano ng kahinaan at kawalan ng kredibildad ng Partido Liberal sa publiko ang naging paghahamon ng mga beteranong pulitiko gaya ni Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago sa pambato pagkapangulo ng administrasyon, ayon sa Kadamay.

"Bilang biktima ng tuluy-tuloy na kaso ng pamamaslang at pandarahas ang mga maralitang lungsod sa ilalim ng mahigit 5-taon panunungkiulan ng administrasyong Aquino, nakahanda ang Kadamay na pabulaanan ang pinagmamalaking Daang Matuwid at 'Vibrant Democracy' ng rehimen," ani Arellano.

"Patuloy kaming maniningil at maglalantad sa kabulukan ng administrasyong bago at sa panahong ng kampanyahan para pambansang halalang sa 2016, hanggang sa mapanagot si Aquino sa kanyang mga kasalanang sa maralitang lungsod at mamamayan," dagdag ng lider.

‪#‎Halalan2016‬ ‪#‎Eleksyon2016‬

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Balintawak residents brace for possible demolition of homes due to Ayala's 'Cloverleaf' project

At least 200 urban poor families living along Apolonio Samson  Road near Balintawak Market brace possible demolition of their homes early this morning as the 7-day notice of eviction served by the Quezon City government last Oct 5 expires today.

As early as 5am, residents have prepared the community barricade anticipating an early morning demolition.

As of press time, residents have monitored demolition team stationed at the Barangay Hall waiting for order to dismantle the homes along A. Samson Road.

Ayala's 'Cloverleaf' 

An Ayala-owned mixed-used business center called 'Cloverleaf' to be built in the Balintawak area which requires the demolition of informal settler colonies and at least 8 big markets in the area.

Last month, owners of the said markets were given a 60-day 'grace period' to renovate the markets to comply with the sanitation standards imposed by the local government of QC.

Meanwhile, as residents face imminent threat of demolition this morning, they have called on presidential candidates who are running for office next year to help them in the their fight against the demolition of their homes and the Balintawak markets which are source of livelihood to most residents.

However, some residents have slammed Liberal Party standard-bearer and former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas for allegedly mishandling the fund supposedly for the housing program of the residents.

Recently, Roxas handed over P100-M to the local government of QC supposedly for the housing of informal settlers in Barangay Apolonio Samson.

According to Zenaida Ogaya, secretary of Samahang Apolonio Samson, Balintawak, Inc., who attended the turn-over of fund in a local basketball court last August, residents still have not received any housing program nor financial assistance from the LGU even as demolition of their homes is looming.

This afternoon, A. Samson residents will be joining other urban poor groups in QC in a protest in time with Mayor Herbert Bautista's State of the City Address at the City Hall.

Residents will be forwarding their demand for decent in-city if not onsite-housing program for the residents.

Zero-Vote Campaign vs Bistek

Meanwhile, the protest at the City Hall this afternoon will call for Zero-Vote Campaign against Mayor Bautista who is reported to run as senator in the 2016 election.

The campaign according to urban poor group Kadamay is an answer to the Zero-Informal Policy which the Bautista administration has implemented since 2010.

Protesters will call on the LGU to scrap plans to build 'Cloverleaf' business center in the Balintawak area, as well as other Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects in the city including the QC-Central Business Project in the North and East Triangle areas, the Controlled Economic Zone in the National Government Center area, and waterways clearing.

According to Kadamay, in the last five years, tens of thousands of QC urban poor have been transferred to off-city relocation sites in Bulacan and Rizal, to give way to this PPP projects which only benefit the big local and foreign businesses. ###

Monday, October 12, 2015

Zero-Vote Campaign vs Bistek, ipinanawagan ng mga maralita sa kanilang protesta kasabay ng State of the City Address ng alkalde

Kasabay ng napabalitang pagbubukas ng senatorial slate ng Liberal Party para kay Mayor Herbert Bautista, maglulunsad ng protesta ngayong hapon ang iba't ibang grupo ng mga maralita ng Quezon City kasabay ng State of the City Address ng alkalde.

Ngayong araw din ang unang araw ng filing of candidacy sa COMELEC ng mga pulitikong tatakbo sa pambansang halalan sa susunod na taon.

Ayon sa mga raliyista sa pangunguna ang Bayan-QC at Kadamay, nakahandang maglunsad ng Zero-Vote Campaign sakaling tumakbong senator si Bistek sa darating na halalan, at kahit na umano tumakbo ito bilang alkalde ng lungsod sa ikatlong termino.

Ayon sa Kadamay, pantapat umano ang Zero-Vote Campaign sa Zero-Informal Settler Policy na ipinapatupad ng alkalde simula pa noong 2010 nang mahalal itong alkalde ng lungsod.

"Ibayong pambubusabos ang kinahirap ng mga maralitang lungsod sa QC sa ilalim ng administrasyong Bautista," ayon kay Estrelieta Bagasbas, lider ng komunidad ng North Triangle at ikalawang pambansang tagapangulo ng Kadamay.

Hatid umano ng Zero-Informal Settler Policy ang kaliwa't kanang demolisyon ng kabahayan ng mga maralita at pagpapalayas sa mga maliit na maninida at padyak sa mga lansangan ng lungsod, ayon sa lider.

Hirit pa ni Bagasbas, "Kung gayong walang puwang ang mga maralita sa QC, mas lalong walang puwang si Bistek sa balota ng mamamayan. Masugid naming ikakampanya sa mga maralita at iba pang mamamayan na huwag siyang iboto sa darating na halalan."

"Tiyak ng nakakasuka ang lalamanin ng SOCA ni Bistek, at walang ibang ipagmamalaki ang alkalde kundi ang mga proyektong pinapakibangan lamang ng malalaking negosyante gaya ng mga Ayala," ani Bagasbas.

Lalahok sa protesta mamayang hapon, ang mga nahaharap sa demolisyon sa QC dahil sa mga proyekto gaya ng QC-Central Business District, Skyway Project, Controlled Economic Zone Project sa National Government Center, at clearing ng mga waterways at iba pang danger areas sa QC gaya ng Bagong Silangan.

Inaasahan ding lumahok ang mga nagpapadyak sa Agham Road, mga manininda mula sa Balintawak market at mga maninida mula sa mga talipapa sa QC na apektado ng planong pagpapasara ng Balintawak market para bigyang-daan ang proyektong 'Cloverleaf' ng pamilya Ayala.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Groups call to scrap payment of monthly amortization in government's low-cost housing

Citing lack of employment and livelihood opportunities, several urban poor groups under Task Force Relocatees from in-city and off-city relocation sites administered by the National Housing Authority (NHA) have renewed their call to scrap the payment of monthly amortization for the government’s low-cost housing.

At least 5 different groups of relocatees from Southville 8C and Kasiglahan Village in Rodriguez, Rizal and Northville 1 and 2 in Valenzuela and Caloocan City aired this demand in a noise barrage protest outside the main office of the NHA on Wednesday.

Coinciding with the protest, some 30 relocatees leaders assisted Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap had a dialogue with Assistant General Manager Froilan Campitan.

Case-to-case basis

Among the measures reached by the dialogue is a case-to-case implementation of NHA’s collection of monthly amortization among housing beneficiaries.

This after leaders have complained about the agency’s scheme of imposing mandatory payment of amortization as requisite for relocatees to avail themselves of of basic facilities such as electricity and water supply.

Many of them have also received notices of eviction and padlocking for failing to pay the monthly amortization to the NHA.

The NHA meanwhile admitted its failure to provide the basic facilities as well as livelihood and employment opportunities in the relocation sites, which are requisite before transferring the urban poor to the government’s low-cost housing.

PPP as culprit

According to Carlito Badion, convenor of TF Relocatees and national secretary-general of urban poor group Kadamay, said that the implementation of big 'development projects' in Metro Manila and other urban centers under Aquino's Public-Private Partnership program is primarily behind the massive eviction of urban poor from their communities.

"The massive and involuntary transfer of urban poor to far-flung relocation sites that are bereft of basic social services and far from sources of employment, has actually reversed the migration trend in the Philippines in recent years, while subjecting hundreds of thousands of urban poor to deeper penury," the leader cited.

Broker of low-cost housing contracts

Badion added that the NHA in years has acted as broker of government contracts with low-cost housing firms, spending billions of pesos of annual housing budget as capital.

The group also cited the possible of corruption with the Aquino administration’s Informal Settler Fund, supposedly worth P10-billion every year for the housing of settlers living along waterways in Metro Manila.

“With billions of ISF being used to finance the government’s housing program, why the substandard structure of government housing? If it’s taxpayers’ money used to build the homes, why do we need to pay for it at a rate twice if not thrice the original cost of construction? Where does the fund go? Who earn from the government’s low-cost housing program?,” asked Badion.

Kadamay has called on the urban poor in government’s relocation sites to stop paying for the monthly amortization, as long as the government fails to treat housing as business rather than service.

‘Investment-friendly environment’ in the housing sector

According to Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, the Aquino government has encouraged the creation of an ‘investment-friendly environment’ in the housing sector through Public-Private Partnership based on the neoliberal framework that takes away from the government its responsibilities to provide its citizens basic social services, while it favors the interest of local and foreign housing investors.

Badion added that neoliberal dictates have imposed the allotment for housing at not more than 1% of the national budget, with the exception of allotment on 2000 at 2013, where the housing budget is 1.4% and 1.5% of the national budget respectively.

"Very meager as it is, huge chunk of the housing budget is allotted for the housing of Metro Manila informal settlers which takes 68.6% of the 2015 national housing fund," he ended.