ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – HUNGER ALERT PROGRAMME
Hunger Alert Case: AHRC-HAC-007-2014

29 August 2014
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PHILIPPINES : Police burn houses after forcibly evicting community in Las Pinas
ISSUES: Right to food; labour rights, impunity; rule of law
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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Defend Job Philippines about the forced eviction of a community from Factor Compound in Las Pinas city. The police also fired in the air to intimidate the community.

CASE NARRATIVE:

AHRC-HAC-007-2014.jpgOn the morning of 19 August 2014, more than 120 members of the police, SWAT team, and demolition teams reached the community living in the Factor Compound, Las Pinas City. Upon arrival, they immediately fired shots into the air to scare the community. The residents came out of their houses to see what was happening.

The team then forcibly evicted them and burned down the houses. Along with the houses all the community lumber, scrap materials, and makeshift tents of the homeLass residents were also burned. They did it, apparently, to stop the community from rebuilding shelters in the same place. The demolition team even burned houses that had children inside.

Lucila Bunayog’s baby was sleeping in the cradle inside her house when the demolition team started the fire. Fortunately, she rushed in and got her baby out safely.

To ensure that nothing remained after the crackdown, the demolition team used a backhoe to level what remained. They later fenced the area with barbed wire, which is now guarded by private security forces armed with shotguns.

The community has taken shelter in a nearby private area. They are being threatened with eviction again. The traumatic eviction has prevented children from going to school. The people’s work has been affected; they have had to remain at home to guard whatever little possessions they have left.

The community, which had been living in the Factor Compound for more than 50 years, was served a notice by the Urban Poor Affairs Office of the City Government of Las Pinas. The department also invited them for a “consultation”, offering Peso 10,000 to those who voluntarily dismantle their houses and agree to sign a guarantee of not returning to the area.

Relocation was also offered to the few residents who could comply with eligibility requirements, including the capacity to pay for monthly amortization. With their income coming from low paid jobs in construction, factories, food selling, doing laundry, and so on, the residents could not afford the relocation costs.

The village and city governments were in favour of the demolition and did not, therefore, support the homeLass families. The community lot is considered to be a prime location eyed by a big businessman. The idea is to build condominiums, high end villages, and subdivisions near where the demolished community had been staying.

The incident is a clear violation of the human rights of all the affected families. It also runs counter to the commitment of the Philippines Government to respect and fulfil the rights of its people, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The government should refrain from conducting evictions and demolitions. It must also put an immediate end to all forms of inhumane treatment of citizenry by the police and other security/demolition team personnel while carrying out such drives.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
This is the second incident of demolition inflicted on the community. The first was carried out on 6 August when the police and SWAT team demolished more than 200 houses. The community had then returned to the Factor Compound as it had nowhere else to go.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities listed below, demanding intervention to ensure immediate rehabilitation of the community forcibly evicted from Factor Compound in Las Pinas.

To support this case, please click here: http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-HAC-007-2014

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear …………………,

PHILIPPINES: Police burn houses after forcibly evicting community in Las Pinas

Name of the Victims: Community members of Factor Compound in Las Pinas city
Name of the Perpetrators: Police personnel and members of SWAT and Demolition team
Time & Place of Incident: Factor Compund, Las Pinas city, August 19, 2014

I have learnt that on the morning of August 19, more than 120 members of the police, security forces and demolition team reached the community living in the Factor Compound, Las Pinas City. On the morning of 19 August 2014, more than 120 members of the police, SWAT team, and demolition teams reached the community living in the Factor Compound, Las Pinas City. Upon arrival, they immediately fired shots into the air to scare the community. The residents came out of their houses to see what was happening. I have also learnt that it was second eviction of the community. They were first evicted from the Factor Compound on 6 August but had returned as they had nowhere else to go.

The team then forcibly evicted them and burned down the houses. Along with the houses all the community lumber, scrap materials, and makeshift tents of the homeLass residents were also burned. They did it, apparently, to stop the community from rebuilding shelters in the same place. The demolition team even burned houses that had children inside.

Lucila Bunayog’s baby was sleeping in the cradle inside her house when the demolition team started the fire. Fortunately, she rushed in and got her baby out safely.

To ensure that nothing remained after the crackdown, the demolition team used a backhoe to level what remained. They later fenced the area with barbed wire, which is now guarded by private security forces armed with shotguns.

The community has taken shelter in a nearby private area. They are being threatened with eviction again. The traumatic eviction has prevented children from going to school. The people’s work has been affected; they have had to remain at home to guard whatever little possessions they have left.

The community, which had been living in the Factor Compound for more than 50 years, was served a notice by the Urban Poor Affairs Office of the City Government of Las Pinas. The department also invited them for a “consultation”, offering Peso 10,000 to those who voluntarily dismantle their houses and agree to sign a guarantee of not returning to the area.

Relocation was also offered to the few residents who could comply with eligibility requirements, including the capacity to pay for monthly amortization. With their income coming from low paid jobs in construction, factories, food selling, doing laundry, and so on, the residents could not afford the relocation costs.

The village and city governments were in favour of the demolition and did not, therefore, support the homeLass families. The community lot is considered to be a prime location eyed by a big businessman. The idea is to build condominiums, high end villages, and subdivisions near where the demolished community had been staying.

The incident is a clear violation of the human rights of all the affected families. It also runs counter to the commitment of the Philippines Government to respect and fulfil the rights of its people, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The government should refrain from conducting evictions and demolitions. It must also put an immediate end to all forms of inhumane treatment of citizenry by the police and other security/demolition team personnel while carrying out such drives.

I therefore urge you to ensure that:

1. The evicted families are resettled immediately in an area close to their places of employment, schools, and other daily needs;

2. The families are compensated for the properties and valuabLas they have lost;

3. The officers responsible for massively disproportionate use of force and burning houses with children inside are identified and prosecuted;

4. Children’s access to school is immediately restored;

5. A comprehensive policy on land development and resettlement is formulated and put in place, and violent crackdowns on communities are ended. The policy, as per the Philippines ‘ commitment to United Nations treaties and conventions, must involve all the stakeholders, including the residents.

Sincerely,

……………..

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace , JP Laurel St. , San Miguel
Manila
PHILIPPINES ,
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Email: corres@op.gov.ph

2. Ms. Loretta Ann RosaLas
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
E-mail: chair.rosaLas.chr@gmail.com

3. Corazon Juliano-Soliman
Secretary
Department of Social, Welfare and Development
Constitution Hills, Batasan Pambansa Complex,
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Tel/Fax: +63 (2) 931-81-91

4. Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St. , Manila
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph

5. Vergel “Nene” Aguilar,
Mayor
Alabang-Zapote Rd
Las Pinas City NCR Philippines
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 (2) 873-85-40

Thank you

Hunger Alerts Programme
Right to Food Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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