- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Peter Boyle
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 at 3:36 AM
Bulacan, Philippines, February 1, 2009 – “We are the bat people, the people who live under bridges in Manila”, explained urban poor organiser Ka Lisa as she took a small group of international observers around a section of an urban poor relocation settlement in Bulacan, about 60 kilometres north of Manila.
philippiness-urban-poor.jpg, image/jpeg, 540x365
Since 2002, entire communities of urban poor people have been forcibly relocated to Bulacan from their “squatter” shanty homes in Manila to make way for never-to-be-completed rail and road developments ordered by the corrupt government of President Gloria Arroyo.
These projects are publicly derided as “the most expensive road/railway line in the world” as they cost millions of pesos to progress just a few metres because of systematic graft in major government contracts.
The relocation of urban poor people evicted from Manila has become a further source of corruption. “This is a privately owned relocation project”, explained Ka Lisa. “The government collects the rent from us and pays it to the private owner.”
“And if we want anything done, even basic services, we have to bribe officials”, she added.
Back in Manila, the urban poor scrape a living sorting rubbish (many live on or near rubbish tips), or working as casual day labourers or as fisherfolk. But in Bulacan that is no work and to travel to Manila costs between 100-200 pesos when the basic income for labourers is only 300 pesos a day. The journey to Manila can take up to two hours each way, as we discovered for ourselves.
To make things worse, since 2005 the urban refugee communities in Bulacan have faced aggressive military repression. An army detachment set up in the area and began hunting down community organisers and activists, tagging them “communists”. Residents were herded into local squares or halls, shown propaganda films about the "communist threat’’ and urged to identify and turn in their leaders.
Then followed a series of abductions and disappearances of community activists in Bulacan. A number of youth were picked up and tortured by the military. Ka Lisa and Ka Sally, another urban poor organiser who spoke to us, were forced to go into hiding until last year.
“We could continue to organise, because the people hid us”, explained Ka Sally, noting that this urban poor community had been one of the longest organised in the country, having founded the Zone One Tondo Organisation (ZOTO), the first ever urban poor organisation in the country.
ZOTO is a federation of 182 urban poor local organisations in 14 relocation sites in Metro Manila and nearby areas. These relocation sites are Dasmariñas, Bulihan,General Trias, Tanza and GMA, Cavite; Bagong Silang, Dagat-Dagatan, Tala and Camarin, Caloocan City; Dagat-Dagatan, Malabon City; Dagat-Dagatan Navotas; Tondo, Manila: Sapang Palay, Muzon and Towerville of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and Pandacaqui in Pampanga.
The organisation was founded in 1970 at the Tondo Foreshore Land when the residents’ dwellings were to be demolished in favour of an IMF/World Bank funded project – an international port. At that time, this area was the biggest colony of slum dwellers of informal settlers in Asia.
Warding off eviction after eviction and rebuilding lives and homes in the relocation sites, ZOTO continues, in its third decade of activity, to struggle for a community of economically and politically empowered citizens who are accorded their due dignity, who foster gender equality and democracy and live in a healthy and bountiful environment.
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Ka Sally and Ka Lisa are leaders of the urban poor base of the newly formed Power of the Masses Party (Partido Lakas ng Masa — PLM) and they proudly announced that they had already joined up 978 members of this settlement of about 10,000 families.
ZOTO is a founding affiliate organisation of the PLM, the party’s PLM vice-chair for international affairs Reihana Mohideen explained. “The PLM’s urban poor base is 150,000. Mostly in Metro Manila, this comprises about half the new party’s base. The urban poor population in Metro Manila is at least two-thirds of the urban population. They live in shanty town-like slums and are commonly known as ’squatters’ as they have no legal rights to the land they occupy.”However, an increasing number today are those whose dwellings have been demolished or destroyed due to fires, etc., and are now residing under bridges and in the streets outside the established and generally organised urban poor communities.
“We consider the urban poor to be a part of the working class. Their main demands are for housing and for jobs. Many of the immediate struggles are against demolition and forcible relocation of their communities. Given that the trade unions have suffered terrible setbacks and even defeats owing to the onslaught of neoliberal globalisation in the past decades, the urban poor have been easier to mobilise in struggle in the recent period. We consider the urban poor to be a strategic section of the working class in the struggle against elite rule and for system change in the Philippines.”
* Peter Boyle is national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Perspective and attended the PLM congress as an international observer.
* Reihana Mohideen, a representative of the Power of the Masses Party (Partido Lakas ng Masa), will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.
Report this post as:
by Peter Boyle
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 at 3:36 AM
manila-urban-poor.jpg, image/jpeg, 411x295
Report this post as:
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
More Local News...
3 Essential Videos
The System Question as a Survival Question
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control
Du pain et des jeux
Fbi joins with Facebook to remove this report
Paraphysique de martyrologie
Asian Countries:Cambodia, Vietnam, N. Korea do not permit unlawful immigration
Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator
Democratic Socialists of America
Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's
Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup
FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution?
Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians
The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally!
Social Policy as Social Infrastructure
Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud
Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner..
June 2018 Honduras coup update
Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support
New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients
Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation
Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why
Change Links 2018 July posted
Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme )
Google, World's Biggest Censor, Was Founded By The CIA
For a World Free of Nuclear Risks
More Breaking News...