Monday, April 23, 2012

The Silverio Compound Brutal Clash

Three reportedly died and thirty three people injured when police and a mob clashed during the planned demolition of houses at Silverio Compound in Paranaque city. The entire world saw how these two groups went against each other--the police armed with their rifles, tear gases, shields and batons, while the mob, ready with their molotov bombs, stones and sticks. Stones flew like projectiles when the police advanced, armed with an order from City Hall to demolish the illegal  structures inside the compound. The mob, meanwhile, fought for their rights.

Among those who died was a 21 year old man who was seen lifeless shortly after the police fired their guns. Police say they fired blank bullets, while angry residents accused the police of lying. Human Rights Commissioner Etta Rosales condemned the police for using brutal tactics in executing their mission. Rosales vowed to conduct a thorough investigation about the incident.

Now, a few hours after the incident, hundreds of residents, including babies and kids occupy a portion of the road outside the compound. These people lost their homes. Many of those demolished by the police are homes converted as stores. Paranaque mayor Bernabe says City hall will stop the demolition for the meantime. The question now is--why is there no place for these displaced families? This shows how unprepared City hall is.

The almost ten hectare Silverio compound will be converted into two sections: 3 hectares will be devoted to building homes for the illegal settlers while a private condominium developer will  establish buildings there for the rest of the six hectares. Many residents complained that this violates an earlier city resolution which grants 2,000 plus families the right to purchase their homes under an equity bearing scheme. Those who live in Silverio compound accused City Hall of violating its own ordinance.

What we just saw shows how brutal the system is against those who do not have the money to buy their own homes. Instead of giving these people some modicum of dignity, City Hall itself gave these people hell. 

Whatever we think of them, these people are entitled still to a decent treatment. These illegal settlers have rights too as citizens of the State. They should not be treated like stray dogs being made to leave an area. 

In a time where some government officials are concerned about profits and incomes rather than the welfare of their people, it is also time for the people to express themselves and militate against the State.