Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kadamay, sinisi ang korupsyon sa Informal Settker Fund kung bakit pa ring maralita ang nalagay ang buhay sa peligro sa pananalasa ng Bagyong 'Mario'


Hinamon ng grupong Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) ang Malacanang na ilabas ang audit report ng bilyun-bilyong pisong Informal Settler Fund, kasabay ng panibagong pagbaha sa Metro Manila na muling naglagay sa peligro sa libu-libo nating kababayan lalo na ang mga nakatira sa tabing-ilog.

Kinondena rin ng grupo ang peligro sa mga off-city relocation sites na nauna nang pinagdalalhan sa mga maralita matapos muling malubog sa taas-bubong na baha ang mga housing units sa pabahay ng gubyerno sa Rodiriguez, Rizal kasabay ng pananalasa ng Bagyong Mario.

Ayon kay Carlito Badion, national secretary-general ng Kadamay, walang ibang nasa likod ng panibagong pagbaha sa Metro Manila at ang peligrong hatid nito sa buhay ng mga maralita kundi ang umano'y korupsyon sa ISF. P50B ang kabuuang halaga ng ISF na nakalaan para sa pabahay ng mga maralitang lungsod.

Inilabas ang unang bahagi ng ISF ba nagkakahalaga ng P11.05B noong Oktubre 2011 sa ilalim ng iligal na Disbursement of Acceleration Program (DAP) ni Aquino. P10B dito ay para sa in-city housing ng mga nakatira sa danger areas gaya ng tabing-ilog.

Malatagal ng kinukondena ng Kadamay ang patuloy na pagtatayo ng mga off-city relocation sites ng gubyerno para sa mga maralitang lungsod. Taliwas umano ito sa probisyon na nagsasaad na dapat sa mga in-city housing gastusin ang ISF ayon sa isang dokumentong inilabas ng Department of Budget and Management kaugnay sa nasabing pondo.

“Hindi na nakakapagtaka kung bakit nahihirapan ang gubyernong ilikas ang mga maralita sa mga malalayong relokasyon dahil sa kawalan ng hanapbuhay at batayang serbisyong panlipunan sa nasabing lugar,” ani Badion. "Kumpara sa dati nilang komunidad sa tabing-ilog, mas malala ang pagbaha sa ilang off-city relocation sites ng National Housing Authority (NHA) gaya ng Kasiglahan Village sa Montalban, Rizal at ng Sityo Batya sa Bocaue, Bulacan."

Dagdag pa ng Kadamay, matagal nang naglabas ang Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ng isang pagsusuri taong 2011 na nagsasaad na hindi maka-maralita at epektibong solusyon sa problema sa pabahay sa bansa ang mga off-city relocation sites.


Ang mga umano'y dawit sa korupsyon sa ISF

Kasuklam-suklam pa ayon sa Kadamay ang korupsyon sa pondo sa pabahay ng gubyerno na umano'y pinapakinabangan ng matataas na opisyales ng NHA at ng Malacanang.

Ilan sa mga nakinabang umano mula sa ISF ang dating kaklase sa Ateneo ni Aquino na si NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, at ang Executive-Secretary ni Aquino na si Paquito Ochoa, bayaw ni Gerry Acuzar na may-ari ng New san Jose Builders, Inc, ang kumpanyang kumupo sa kalakhan sa mga kontrata sa pagtatayo ng mga off-city relocation sites ng NHA.

Hindi rin umano malayong dawit sa korupsyon ng ISF at ng pondo para sa flood-control program sa Metro Manila ang matataas ng opisyales ng Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Work and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, at ng DILG na ahensyang pangunahing nagpapatupad ng Oplan Likas Program ng administrasyong Aquino.

“Habang libu-libo nating kababayan ang muli na namang nalubog sa baha, patuloy ang pagsabotahe ng administrasyong Aquino sa pondo ng taumbayan sa halip na ilaan upang magbigay-serbisyo sa mga maralitang lungsod. Mananatili ang peligro sa buhay ng ating mga kakababayan at ang madalas na pagbaha sa Metro Manila at sa mga of-city relocation sites ng gubyerno hangga't hindi nasusupil ang talamak na korupsyon sa ating bayan,” ani Badion.

Samantala, nanatiling ang paglikha ng trabaho para sa mga maralita ang tanging makakasagot sa lumalalang problema sa pabahay at ang mataas na bulnerabilidad ng maralita laban sa mga natural na sakuna,” ayon pa sa lider.

Group dares PNoy, Abad to personally discuss Informal Settler Fund, DAP with the urban poor


Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) dares Budget Secretary Florencio 'Butch' Abad and President BS Aquino into personally attending a forum in an urban poor community to defend themselves against corruption allegations on the Informal Settler Fund (ISF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The challenge is a reaction to a statement of Malacanang against a protest staged by student activists last Thursday who mobbed the Budget secretary after he attended a forum at the University of the Philippines Diliman to discuss the 2015 budget. Abad who was Aquino's campaign manager in the 2010 presidential election is said to be the main architect of the DAP. The Supreme Court declared DAP as partially unconstitutional in July.


"What would Mr. Aquino have to say when he learns that the urban poor are interested in engaging him and his budget secretary to a public forum so they can justfy why DAP is legal and why despite its promise to to boost the economy, DAP has failed to create enough employment to alleviate majority of the population from poverty?" asked Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson.

"We challenge him and Mr. Abad to personally explain to thousands of urban poor living in government's off-city relocation sites why despite the billions of pesos of the ISF, their lives in the relocation sites have only gone worse," Arellano added.

Kadamay has been staging protests recently at the head offices of the Commission on Audit and the National Housing Authority to ask for a full audit report of the ISF, a fund supposedly for the housing of urban poor especially those living in danger areas in Metro Manila.

The entire ISF is worth P50B with an annual disbursement of P10B until 2016. The Department of Budget and Management released in 2011 the first tranche of the ISF worth P11.05B under the controversial DAP.

Kadamay has alleged corruption of the ISF as the National Housing Authority to where the fund was disbursed to has been constructing off-city relocation sites contrary to the fund's description. According to a DBM's list of DAP-funded projects released in July, the P10B fund for settler along waterways and P450M fund for residents of North Triangle should be used to construct in-city housing.

"We firmly believe that the contracts entered into by the NHA with firms such as New san Jose Builders, Inc, who constructed the low-cost housing in Montalban (Rodriguez, Rizal) are corruption-ridden," expressed Arellano.

According to Kadamay, those who have possibly earned from these anomalous contracts include NHA top officials such as Aquino's Ateneo classmate NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, and Malacanang's Executive-Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who is a brother-in-law of businessman Jerry Acuzar, the owner of NSJBI.

More violent mob

"The urban poor have lots of questions to the President and his administration with regards to the ISF, for after all the fund bears our name. He should go down to the communities where his bosses are. If he can't to convince his bosses with his answers, Malacanang should not wonder why a listening audience would suddenly turn into a mob that is certainly more violent than the one staged by the UP students," said Arellano.

Kadamay said the protest staged by UP students is a clear manifestation of the growing anger of the Filipino people over the lack of decency, if not conscience, of the Aquino administration as it continues to defend the legality of DAP.
Protests has been following the President recently in some of his speaking engagements in different regions in the country and even abroad. Such protests will eventually snowball in the coming days in more parts of the country to demand for his immediate removal from the office, said Kadamay.

"If the poor are Mr. Aquino's real boss, they would have fired him long ago," Arellano added.

Monday, February 3, 2014

North Triangle residents say 'It's payback time'


QUEZON CITY--A week after the violent demolition of homes of informal settlers along Agham Road in North Triangle, residents have called for payback time.

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. ###

Monday, January 20, 2014

Grupong KADAMAY, kinondena ang clearing operation sa Manila Seedling Bank ngayong [Kasabay ng National Day of Prayer para sa mga biktima ni Yolanda]

Matapos ang ikinasang protesta ng mga maralita ng North at East Triangle kaninang umaga kasabay ng isinasagawang clearing operation sa Manila Seedling Bank, maglulunsad naman sila ng isang candle-lighting protest kasabay ng panawagan ni Pangulong Aquino para sa isang National Day of Prayer para sa mga biktima ng Bagyong Yolanda.

Ayon kay Estrelieta Bagasbas, national vice chair ng KADAMAY, walang pakundangan ang administrasyong Bautista at Aquino sa kalagayan ng halos 150 maralitang manggagawang nawalan ng trabaho at 60 empleyado ng Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, Inc.

Nagtapos noong Biyernes ang 20-day grace period na ibingay ng QC LGU sa mga occupants ng MSB compound upang kusa nilang lisanin ang compound.

Ayon pa sa QC LGU, matagal na umanong pinaabutan ang mga nagosyante sa loob ng MSB na lisaanin ang compound, at pansamantalang pumwesto sa loob ng QC Memorial Circle.

Ngunit mariin tinutulan ng mga maralitang nagtatrabaho sa compound gayundin ng mga residente mula sa katabing komunidad ng San Roque ang planong paglilikas.

Samantala, ang grupong KADAMAY kasama ang Concerned Organizations Opposed to Transfer, Lay-off, Privatization and Demolition due to QCCBD o CONTRACBD, ay tumututol din sa pagsasara ng MSB Compound hindi lamang dahil mawawalan ng hanapbuhay ang mga nagtatrabaho sa lugar, kundi dahil isang hakbang umano ito sa pagpapatupad ng Quezon City Central Business District.

Ang QCCBD ay inaasahang wawalis sa kabahayan at kabuhayan ng natitirang 7,000 pamilya sa San Roque at iba pang komunidad sa North at East Triangle.

Ngayong alas-6 ng hapon, magsisindi ng kandila sa tarangkahan ng Manila Seedling ang grupong KADAMAY. Ayon sa grupo, ang candle lighting ay kanilang protesta sa kaliwa't kanang demolisyong kinakaharap ng maralitang lungsod, kabilang na dito ang mga apektado ng Bgayong Yolanda sa Tacloban City na pinapalayas mula sa kanilang komunidad.

No-build policy sa Tacloban, kinondena

Kinondena ng KADAMAY ang 'no-build policy' na ipinapatupad ng administrasyong Aquino sa Tacloban City kung saan hindi na kinayaang makabalik ang mga maralita sa dati nilang komunidad upang bigyang daan ang malalaking Public-Private Partnership Project sa syudad.

Ani Bagasbas, ang administrasyong Aquino ang pinakamalalang bagyong sumalanta sa maralitang lungsod. Libu-libong maralita umano ang nawalan ng trabaho at tahanan sa pagpapatupad nito ng malawakang demolisyon ng mga komunidad ng maralita.

Mga nawalan ng masisilungan, hinikayat na tumira sa North Triangle

Samanatala, nanawagan naman ang grupong KADAMAY sa ilang manggagawang nawalan ng tahanan na magtirik ng kanilang masisilungan sa katabing na komunidad na Sitio San Roque sa North Triangle. Sa kabila ito ng bagong ordinansa na ipinasa ng QC LGU na nagbabawala ng pagtatayo ng mga bagong istrukutura saan mang lugar sa lungsod nang walang kaukulang permiso ng may-ari ng lupa.

Nakahanda umanong sumuporta sa laban ng mga manggagawa ng Manila Seedling Bank ang mga maralita sa mga kalapit komunidad upang biguin ang sapilitang pagpapalayas na isinasagawa sa kanila ng pamahalaan.###

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Grupong KADAMAY, kinondena ang iligal na pag-aresto sa manggagawa ng Manila Seedling Bank at ilang aktibista

Kinondena ng gruping Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) ang ginawang iligal na pag-aresto ng Quezon City Police District sa mga aktibista at manggagawa ng Manila Seedling Bank sa North Triangle, QC.

Kabilang sa mga inaresto sina Sylva Attala Fortuno, 27, pambansang opisyal ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, at Joanna Orillano, 14, opisyal ng Anakbayan North Triangle. Sila umano ay binubugbog ng kapulisan matapos silang tumangging magpaaresto. Samantala, 13 manggagawa rin ang nakasama sa pag-aresto.

Aabot na 18 oras na nakadetene ang mga inaresto sa Camp Caringal, kahit wala pang pormal na kasong isinampa laban sa kanila. Si Orellano na isang menor-de-edad at dumanas din ng pambubugbog mula sa mga arresting officers ng QCPD ay dinala naman sa panganagsiwa ng DSWD.

Matapos ang ikinasang protesta ng mga maralita ng QC kahapon kasabay ng State of the City Address ni Mayor Herbert Bautista, pwersahang binuksan ng mga manggagawa ng MSB ang gate sa compound na kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan.

Kahapon ng umaga, sa utos ni Mayor Bautista, ipinasara ng QC LGU ang MSB compound dahil sa mahigit 57M pisong buwis na hindi umano nito nabayaran mula 2011.

Ayon pa sa QC LGU, matagal na umanong pinaabutan ang mga nagosyante sa loob ng MSB na lisaanin ang compound, at pansamantalang pumwesto sa loob ng QC Memorial Circle.

Mariin itong tinutulan ng mga maralitang nagtatrabaho sa compound gayundin ng mga residente mula sa katabing komunidad ng San Roque.

Sa pagsasara ng MSB Compound, nasa 150 manggagawa, 60 empleyado ang mawawalan ng trabaho, pati na rin ang 50 malilit na negosyante na nagtitinda ng mga pananim at halaman.

Samantala, ang grupong KADAMAY kasama ang Concerned Organizations Opposed to Transfer, Lay-off, Privatization and Demolition due to QCCBD, ay tumututol din sa pagsasara ng MSB Compound hindi lamang dahil mawawalan ng hanapbuhay ang mga nagtatrabaho sa lugar, kundi dahil isang hakbang umano ito sa pagpapatupad ng Quezon City Central Business District.

Ang QCCBD ay inaasahang wawalis sa kabahayan at kabuhayan ng natitirang 7,000 pamilya sa San Roque at iba pang komunidad sa North at East Triangle.

Ayon sa SAVE Manila Seedling Bank, planong kuhanin ni Bistek at ng Ayala Land Inc. (sa pangunguna ni ALI CEO Antonino T. Aquino) ang 6 na ektaryang lupain na inuupahan ng MSB sa National Housing Authority para sa Vertis North Project ng mga Ayala.

Kasabay ng pagdiriwang ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Karapatang Pantao ngayong araw, maglulunsad ng malaking protesta ang mga maralita sa labas ng Camp Caringal ngayong hapon para ipinawagan ang kagyat na pagpapalaya sa mga inaresto, at pagpapanagot sa pasismo ng QCPD sa pangunguna ni Superintendent Pedro Sanchez.###

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nanay Mameng: Militant, True Leader of the Masses


For more than three decades, Carmen 'Nanay Mameng' Deunida, with her endearing style of speech, was sought after by mass audiences in each and every people's street rally. She was the national chair of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (National Alliance of Urban Poor in the Philippines) since its establishment in 1998 until 2008. 

Despite her age, she remains an icon of urban poor struggle in the Philippines. Her contribution to the Filipino people's struggle for national democracy and freedom has been met with unparalleled cheers and recognition from ordinary masses and her comrades.

Delivering a speech at Liwasan Bonifacio, Manila on May 1, 2003 during a Labor Day rally, Nanay Mameng is among the most notorious critics of the Arroyo administration. She was 75 when the photo was taken by Arkibong Bayan.

At 85, she not only battles against the rotten system in the country. She was initially diagnosed with an early stage of vascular dementia, an age-related illness which causes difficulty in speaking and physical movement.

Please support KADAMAY's fund-raising drive for Nanay Mameng's fast recovey and maintenance of her health. Kindly contact Kadamay national office at +632.427.4315 for cash and other donations, or text Ka Bea Arellano at 0921.392.7457. Cash donation can be sent to Allied Bank Account Number: 363-0003251 (Account Name: KADAMAY Inc; Swift Code: ABCMPHMM).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Furious North Triangle residents block EDSA anew, challenge Aquino, Ayala to withdraw business district project





Protest of residents against the construction of a business district project in Sitio San Roque, in the North Triangle area of Quezon City has turned into a warzone early morning Friday.

At least a hundred residents were holding a camp-out vigil last night to protest the blocking of the main entrance into the community from Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA). By midnight, at least 150 'blue guards' hired by the Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) arrived and closed the entrance. Reports of residents said many of the guard were drunk, and were carrying long fire arms.

Other reports said gunshots from the side of the police were heard at around 1am as enraged residents threw rocks at bottles at the authorities. Authorities have failed to arrest any of the residents.

At around 9am, hundreds of residents reinforced the people's resistance led by a local chapter of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY). They easily destroyed the closure, and staged a 5-minute road blockade at the north bound lane of EDSA to air their protest.

According to Jocy Lopez, chair of KADAMAY-North Triangle, "The road blockade is their only way to have their demand heard by the President."

Lopez mentioned their first barricade at EDSA on September 23, 2010 which paralyzed the traffic at the thoroughfare for more than 7 hours. "Then, President Aquino ordered to stop the demolition of our homes," she said.

KADAMAY has called on the President Aquino and ALI withdrew the Quezon City Central Business District project. “Three years of people’s resistance to the QCCBD should bring the project back to its drawing board.”

No match

Meanwhile, Estrelieta 'Ka Inday' Bagasbas, chairwoman of a local alliance in North Triangle called September 23 Movement said "Ayala's blue guards and the police can try to close the gate anytime, but residents will destroy it again and again. Even if they are armed with high power rifles, they are still no match to the thousands of residents who have grown tired and angry of the abuses of the Aquino government."

Bagasbas estimates the number of families currently living at San Roque at around 7,000, down from its original number of more than 10,000 families before the National Housing Authority started the voluntary relocation of residents to Montalban, Rizal and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan in 2010. But the leader said half of those who accepted the relocation offer have come back to San Roque.

"This government that only favors the interest of big businessmen like Ayala has taught us to become rebellious of the current system. Aquino has promised to provide us with decent shelter using billions of pesos of Informal Settler Fund (ISF), but only provided us with far-flung relocation sites that lack basic social services and employment opportunities," added Bagasbas.

Taken from the fund of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, the Aquino administration has been dispensing the ISF worth P10B every year since 2011 to expedite the relocation of informal settlers.

Bigger protests ahead

Since September, urban poor group KADAMAY has been calling on the Commission on Audit to release its report on the ISF which the group claims has been misused by the Aquino administration.

KADAMAY also said it is gearing to mobilize thousands of urban poor from different communities nationwide for an anti-pork noise barrage on November 13 called Kalampagan Kontra Koruspsyon.

Meanwhile, North Triangle residents warned the President.

"While he remains dismissive of the people's clamor, we will not be satisfied with blocking EDSA for only 5 minutes. Next time, it will be a permanent barricade," said Bagasbas. ###