Thursday, April 26, 2012

Violent evictions

THE violent eviction of the urban poor huddled up in shanties for decades now at the Silverio Compound in Parañaque City was hideous. It happened in the sweltering morning of April 23, in front of cameras that broadcasted live on national TV to millions of viewers in the country and perhaps to some parts of the world.

The scene was chaotic with the residents throwing stones at the demolition squads that retorted with truncheons, water cannons and arrests. But the shocker was when men in military outfit started strafing the poor residents with assault rifle like one would see at the video clips of the uprising in Libya or somewhere in the Arab spring. The sorry episode concluded with 4 dead allegedly from gunfire, and
more hurt.   

To be a citizen and resident of one’s country without a formal housing is very unfortunate government neglect. But to be evicted—and violently at that—from such lowliness is a gross misfortune that the political leaders, the wealthy business and the comfortable will never understand. As if these were not enough, some media that, of course, are controlled by the comfortably housed accused the residents of  being infiltrated by the left and of not heeding the court’s order—and therefore deserve to suffer such lot. Cases of violent demolitions in Metro Manila have been happening rather frequently now since the last two years.

But a government whether local or national that is not able to address, but instead worsen, the basic necessities such as housing is certainly out of grips

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