Poverty, hardship pushed residents to resist in yesterday’s violent demolition – Anakbayan
A militant group of young workers, professionals, and students condemned yesterday’s violent demolition of homes in an urban poor community in San Juan City where more than 50 residents and their supporters were injured, while 13 were arrested. They also blasted San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito’s statements that the violence was ‘instigated’ by progressive groups as ‘the ignorance typical of modern-day feudal lords’.
“When their rights are trampled upon, the poor will rise up on their own accord. Obviously, JV has not learnt from his father’s experience” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo, referring to JV’s father, former president Joseph Estrada, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2001 despite winning the 1998 elections on the basis of a ‘pro-poor’ image.
The residents of Brgy. Corazon de Jesus in Pinaglabanan, San Juan are against their planned relocation to sites in Rizal and Laguna on the grounds that these are too far from their present jobs or any sources of livelihood. Both sites also have no access to clean drinking water, electricity, schools, and health centers.
“They are resorting to the typical ‘agitators-infiltrators’ theory because they are so used to lording it over to the people of San Juan” said the youth leader.
The Estradas, starting with the former president, have dominated the political landscape in San Juan since the 1970s.
“The Estradas should try living in those relocation sites so they can understand why Pinaglabanan’s residents resorted to desperate measures. It’s hard to get a grip on reality if you are stuck in one of their many ill-gotten mansions” added Crisostomo.
Meanwhile, Anakbayan warned that the ‘Battle of Pinaglabanan’ is a sign of a ‘brewing revolt’ against government policies which pushing millions of Filipinos deeper into poverty.
“JV is not the only one who should learn from Erap’s experience. President Aquino should remember that demolitions of homes, price and fare hikes, low wages, and the slashing of social services’ spending all fueled countless protests which eventually led to Edsa 2” said Anakbayan’s Crisostomo.
Campuses across the nation went on strike last November and December to protest a cut in the education budget, while residents of the San Roque community in Quezon City and ‘kuliglig’ drivers in Manila clashed with the police to protect their homes and jobs.
“Another popular uprising? With the way Noynoy is running things, that’s the destination of daang matuwid” concluded the youth leader.