Estrelieta Bagasbas, leader of September 23 Movement, a local alliance of residents said "Its time to make those accountable from Malacanang to the ground commander of the Quezon City Police District pay for their abuses."
Bagasbas' group is planning to stage protest in the coming days, including a big protest at Aquino's ancestral home at Times Street. Legal cases are also being crafted against those responsible for the bloody demolition, she said.
The urban poor leader estimated that at least 300 families have lost their homes during the violent demolition of homes last Monday. The alliance claimed membership of more than half of the families affected by the 11.3m road-widening along Agham Road, and the demolition of homes at the Area Central Terminal (CT) across the Office of the Ombudsman to give to the contruction of QC Central Business District.
According to Bagasbas, last Monday's demolition was “the most brutal attacks they experienced from the Aquino administration,” citing the overkill deployment of 700 policemen from QCPD and the 400 personnel of Task Force COPRISS (Control and Prevention of All Structures and Squatting).
"They used both brute force and dirty tactics such as non-issuance of eviction notices to prevent resistance from the residents," added the leader.
"Despite the human right violations against civilian residents, we are not surprised that Malacanang has seen the demolition of our homes to have ‘ended well’. They never really treated us as humans in the first place,” she remarked.
According to rights group KARAPATAN, at least 309 were suffocated by tear gas, including some 167 children. At least 44 individuals were injured during the demolition or dispersal, including 11 individuals who illegally arrested during and in the aftermath of the Monday demolition.
"Aside from the violence, Malacanang have remained blind of the situation that awaits the hundreds of urban poor families that it relocated to off-city housing sites in Rizal and Bulacan against their will," Bagasbas added.
Only three months after Aquino assumed his post as president, a similar violence have erupted after a planned demolition of homes along EDSA in North Triangle.
"Since his early months in the office, we knew all along that he will never be the president who will learn to understand our suffering, and will do everything to pull us out of the quagmire of poverty," said Bagasbas.
“Aquino’s callousness and brutality has only taught the urban poor to be rebellious and to aspire for a better government that will serve the interest of the poor, and not the interest of big businessmen like the Ayalas,” the leader said.
The alliance has vowed to fail the Quezon City Central Business District and to support their fellow urban poor who face threats of eviction from their communities and source of livelihood due to Aquino's privatization policy.
“By all means, we will make Aquino pay for his unabated attacks against the welfare of the poor. We want this president to be out of his office any time soon," Bagasbas ended. ###