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PIA Press Release

Demolition: The urban poor's biggest battle

By Mai B. Gevera

Davao City (7 December) -- With 7,000 demolished Filipino families every year, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) has cited demolitions as one of the major battles encountered by the urban poor sector.

PCUP Chairperson and CEO Percival Chavez said in a press conference yesterday that the government should continue to look for other funding sources for the most expensive service that should be delivered to the Filipino people which is housing.

"We have to increase our budget for the housing services," he said. Chavez explained that government funds fell to a meager P900 million for the National Housing Agency alone.

He said that the government should prioritize the poor sector in distributing national budgets.

"Most of the time, the government simply selects projects that could give them a huge return of investment."

This is why, according to him, that housing projects for the poor is often given lesser attention.

However, after human violation reports that reached the President, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now pushing for an in-city relocation in the hope of satisfying the demands of the Filipino squatters.

"Low social accessibility is the number one reason these squatters do not want to transfer to relocation sites because according to them they would have to give up their livelihood upon transfer".

PGMA wanted to settle these people in a place where they could still find easy access for their jobs and other basic services given to the public like schools, church, etc.

Chavez also mentioned that it is not just the insufficient funding that hinders effective service delivery to the poor sector but most of all it is the process of implementation.

"We are still encountering so many problems due to poor implementation of laws and policies. "

With last year's demolition of residents in the Dakudao property, PCUP Mindanao Director Carlos Tamayo bared that his office solely relies on the initiative of the local government unit of Davao City to address and solve the year-long issue of the Dakudao demolition.

However, Tamayo said that he is going to revisit the case and make necessary letters to the property owner as well as the Local Government Unit to further give attention to the case for immediate resolution. (PIA) [top]

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