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CBCP official slams violent demolition in San Juan

MANILA, Jan. 12, 2012— An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has criticized yesterday’s violent demolition of shanties in San Juan City, leaving at least 26 people injured.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, said it is disappointing that the demolition happened despite a moratorium on relocation in Metro Manila.

“What is happening to our urban poor is really sad,” Gariguez said over Manila archdiocese-run Radyo Veritas. “This is an issue on social justice, so the church has to act on this.”

Last year, President Benigno Aquino III ordered a moratorium on relocation until the government comes up with a master plan to address the problems on informal settlers.

“The urban poor support President Aquino so it would be a slap on their faces if the president can’t do anything about it,” he said.

Authorities and demolition personnel of San City government and informal settlers residing in Brgy. Corazon de Jesus clashed Wednesday during a relocation operation by the local government.

Reports said a number of residents were scheduled to be relocated to Rodriguez, Rizal that day but they insisted on staying and build a barricade blocking the demolition team.

The conflict lasted for about two hours with the displaced residents throwing improvised explosives, stones, empty glass bottles and slingshots at the demolition team.

He also said that the law dictates that there should be no demolition of shanties in squatter areas without “proper” relocation sites.

According to him, the rights of the residents were violated after authorities proceeded to enforce the demolition order.

“Actually, the demolition team and the city government of San Juan violated the law,” Gariguez said. [CBCPNews]