Angeles City

At least 2,000 residents in Angeles City flee after violent demolition

Joann Manabat

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At least 2,000 residents in Angeles City flee after violent demolition

CHECKPOINT. Clarkhills Properties Corporation installs check point at entry points in the disputed land. Residents were given until March 15 to flee their home.

Joann Manabat/Rappler

Most of the Sitio Balubad residents, including their children, have sought temporary shelter in a church and a covered court in Barangay Anunas. Some of the families still have nowhere else to go and live.

ANGELES, Philippines – At least 2,000 residents of Sitio Balubad in this city were forced to flee in the last four days following the violent demolition last March 12 at the 73-hectare disputed land being claimed by Clarkhills Properties Corporation.

Based on the tally of the Angeles City local government unit (LGU), at least 2,000 residents or 535 families were given until Friday, March 15, to pack their belongings and leave their homes.

Pinapatay na nila kami. Tinatanggal na nila talaga ‘yung karapatan namin (They are killing us. They are taking away our rights),” Ester, not her real name, told Rappler on Friday.

Most of the residents, including their children, sought temporary shelter in a church and a covered court in Barangay Anunas. Some of the families still have nowhere else to go and live.

The Angeles LGU on Friday provided mattresses, sheets, and food to the displaced families.

EXODUS. Residents are forced to flee their homes while some self-demolish their houses following a demolition that turned violent on March 12, 2024. Photo by Joann Manabat/Rappler

Pampanga 1st District Representative Carmelo Lazatin II filed on Wednesday, March 13, House Resolution No. 1645, urging the House of Representatives to condemn and investigate, in aid of legislation, the violent demolition and reported shooting of residents of Sitio Balubad.

Kinikilala natin ang karapatan ng Clarkhills pero kailangan din natin proteksyunan ang karapatang pantao ng ating kababayan sa Barangay Anunas sa maayos at hindi marahas na pamamaraan,” Lazatin told Rappler on Saturday, March 16.

(We recognize the rights of Clarkhills but we also need to protect the human rights of our constituents in Barangay Anunas, in an orderly and non-violent manner.)

Ester recalled how they had stood firm every time the demolition team arrived in their area.

The first demolition happened on November 9, 2022, she recalled. What followed were months of thousands of residents living in fear from a series of demolitions – of which some had turned violent – from September 11, 2023, to December 2, 2023.

Last February 8, an American resident was stabbed during a surprise demolition, Ester said.

Clarkhills Properties Corporation, through its demolition team, took over Sitio Balubad on Friday. Checkpoints were installed at every entry point to the disputed land. 

Paul – his last name withheld for his safety – and his family were also forced to flee the area even though their property was not included in the demolition order and the disputed land. His house was located along the boundary of the disputed land.

“We are packing our things. We will bring what we can bring. We are not included in the demolition but we were also forced to leave. It has been terrifying and also traumatic to a point that we no longer feel safe in our own home,” Paul said.

‘Di ko alam saan kami pupulutin. ‘Yung mga bata, hindi na pumapasok sa eskuwela simula noong nagkagulo dito. Natatakot rin sila. Kahit mga bata ‘yan, naiintindihan nila ang nangyayari kasi nararanasan nila. Naninindigan rin sila,” Ester said.

(I don’t know where we’d end up staying. Our children here don’t go to school anymore since the chaos here ensued. Even the children understand what is happening because they are experiencing it. They are also standing up.)

Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. had offered P70 million to buy two hectares from Clarkhills for the relocation of the Sitio Balubad residents. 

The mayor said the offer was an initial step toward expropriation. Lazatin had expressed his intention to expropriate 3 hectares of the 73-hectare contested land for the residents.

He also prompted utility companies to temporarily restore the residents’ electric and water supplies that were destroyed during the violent demolition in Barangay Anunas.

Lazatin also urged the Angeles Electric Corporation and Primewater to immediately restore the connections of affected residents. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Why did the Angeles City local government unit (LGU) fail to provide a relocation site before the violent demolition on March 12, 2024? The first demolition was on November 9, 2022, followed by a series of demolitions. At least the said LGU provided “mattresses, sheets, and food to the displaced families.” But such action is a mere palliative, for it could have been done better given that more than a year had passed since the first demolition. It looks like corporate interest and exclusive economic development have been given greater weight than displaced families’ welfare.

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