MANILA, Philippines — An operation to demolish the houses of around 200 informal settlers in Intramuros, Manila nearly turned violent as the residents opposed the demolition yesterday morning.
Armed with an eviction order issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 7, a demolition team along with members of the Manila Police District special reaction unit proceeded to Legaspi street in Barangay 463 in Intramuros to evict the residents at around 10 a.m.
Mayor Joseph Estrada, however, stopped the demolition due to a lack of relocation site for the residents.
The demolition order, which was presented by Sheriff Manuelito Veloria, ordered over 100 families to pay LG Mathierson Development Corp. P5,000 a month from 2008 since they occupied the area and P50,000 in attorney’s fee.
The residents barricaded the street and armed themselves with rocks to prevent the demolition team from dismantling their houses.
After 30 minutes of negotiations, Velorio said they gave the residents one day to pack their belongings and vacate the property.
‘No relocation, no demolition’
Estrada went to the demolition site after he was informed that tension rose between the demolition team and the informal settlers.
“For as long as there is no relocation site, we will not allow the demolition to push through even if there is a court order,” he said.
Estrada said the National Housing Authority should provide a resettlement site first for the affected residents.
“We are giving shelters to dogs. Why can’t we give houses to the people, especially the children residing in the area,” he said.
He said the Philippine National Police was mandated to stop any demolition operation against informal settlers without relocation. – Jose Rodel Clapano.