Manila, Philippines – More than 200 families, tagged as informal settlers, face the possibility of sleeping on the streets after they were evicted from their homes in Barangay 463, Intramuros, Manila.
Demolition trucks trooped to Intramuros on Tuesday morning in an attempt to evict residents of No. 463 Legaspi Street and enforce a demolition order issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 7.
Tension gripped the area as residents, who were unaware of the issuance of the court order, tried to barricade the street with pedicabs and a basketball ring.
Some of them even reportedly prepared bottles and pipes to defend themselves should the demolition turn violent.
However, hostilities subsided after the court sheriff, who had served them the demolition order, gave them a day to pack up their things and vacate the property.
As of 10:30 a.m., residents have already started hauling their clothes, furniture and other personal belongings and settled outside the street.
The Manila RTC Branch 7, in a two-page demolition order, stated that L.G. Mathieson Development has “sufficiently proven” that it was the registered owner of the property where the informal settlers were residing.
No relocation plan yet
According to incoming village chairman Salvador Fuentes, there was no relocation plan yet for the evicted informal settlers.
Fuentes lamented that most of them have been residing on the property for more than 40 years.
“More than 200 families have been living on this property, some have already been here for 40 years. Some have had their grandchildren there,” Fuentes said in Filipino.
“We’re easy to deal with, as long as everything is in proper order. The court has already issued an order. We can’t refuse to comply,” he said.
In an interview with reporters, the incoming village official took the occasion to appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte for a relocation site.
“Our dear President, please take notice of our plight. There’s no plan to relocate us. Give us a relocation site. If there’s a place for garbage, what about us?” he lamented.
Residents to pay P500-600K each
Meanwhile, the court ordered each resident to pay L.G. Mathieson P5,000 each for every month from July 2008 for residing on the property.
This means each resident must cough up around P500,000 to P600,000 if they have been using the property since July 2008.
The demolition order was issued by the court on December 15, 2017 but its enforcement was scheduled only on Tuesday.