MANILA, Philippines – Social media was abuzz Monday, April 23, after a clash between informal settlers and riot police in Parañaque City resulted in the death of one person and the injury of at least 6.
The confrontation happened as hundreds of informal settlers attempted to block the entrance of the Silverio Compound in Parañaque City. Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernade explained that the demolition was meant to dismantle a makeshift marketplace, which would eventually lead to the creation of low-cost housing structures.
The informal settlers, however, were allegedly told that their houses would also be demolished.
Television footage from local broadcasters GMA and ABS-CBN showed hundreds of informal settlers hurling large stones at the police, who in turn were seen firing assault rifle rounds towards rioters.
Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, in a report aired over ABS-CBN, condemned the violence used during the confrontation.
The Akbayan Party also released a statement on Monday, urging the chief of the Philippine National Police to suspend the police involved in the dispersal; the group also urged President Benigno Aquino III to fulfill his earlier promise to create a national moratorium on forced demolitions.
Violent dispersals are nothing new to the Philippines — with over 7% of the population living in informal settlements with an increasing annual rate of over 3.5% —urban space has become even harder to come by, making clashes between informal settlers and riot police all too common.
Why do you think violent dispersals keep on happening in the Philippines? Who should be held accountable for the deaths and violence? Share your thoughts with us over at Twitter using the hashtag #InformalSettlers or join the discussion on Facebook.