ANTIPOLO City, Nov. 19, 2012—The Cebu Solidarity with the Urban Poor (CSUP), a wide alliance of religious and lay people, called on the government to uphold the rights of the poor to shelter as series of demolitions displace families from their homes in Cebu City’s Brgy. Luz.
In a statement sent to CBCP News, Sr. Ester Suico, SSHJM, one of the leading conveners of the CSUP, said they were concerned about the plight of the affected families of the 32 households in Brgy. Luz, who are left homeless since there were no proper relocation sites provided for them by the government.
“Our brothers and sisters were given the lots in Barangay Luz as relocation site by President Ramon Magsaysay in the 1950’s. However, the Supreme Court ordered their demolition and they trusted the courts and the city government which promised adequate resettlement after the demolition which started on October 8, 2012,” Suico said.
Suico said that the affected families are only living in tents erected beside their rightful lots.
“The tent is hot during the day. When it rains, the people get wet. At night, some sleep sitting down on makeshift chairs. They have no running water, electricity, sanitation. Their meager livelihood such as street vending is disrupted. Some of them who hauled their old timber to proposed relocation sites were dismayed to discover that these already belonged to other claimants,” she said.
Since there were no assurance of proper relocation, said Suico, some of them are starting to re-build their homes on the same lots provided them; however, since there is a standing SC order, there is a possibility of another demolition and making them more vulnerable against the alleged harrassments from Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera, the Homeowners’ Association, as well as from other government instrumentalities.
Meanwhile, as lawyers of the affected families are trying to get a motion for reconsideration, the CSUP called for further support and solidarity from the public to press the authorities to stop the demolition.
“We call on the authorities to heed the Guidelines of the United Nations on Evictions and Development-based Displacement which say that forced eviction is a human rights violation and States must refrain from it. Instead, States must protect and promote the right of the people to adequate housing. May our new saint, Pedro Calungsod, intercede for us to our one and only Heavenly Father, in Jesus our Brother, through the Holy Spirit!” Suico said. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]