MANILA, Philippines – During his administration, there will be no demolition of homes unless residents are assured of relocation, said President Rodrigo Duterte.
"During my time, there will be no demolition 'pag walang relocation. Hindi ako papayag," said Duterte at the start of his speech in front of San Beda Law School batchmates on Sunday night, July 17, in Malacañang Palace.
(During my time, there will be no demolition if there is no relocation. I won't allow it.)
Duterte condemned demolitions approved even when relocation sites for affected families have not been readied. He blasted the practice as inhumane.
"Kasi 'yung walang mapuntahan, sirain mo ang bahay, parang aso. Eh saan pupunta 'yung mga tao? Where will they find another shelter?" he said.
(Those who have nowhere to go to, you destroy their house, they are like dogs. Where will they go? Where will they find another shelter?)
In comparison, the President said he would be "very generous" to victims of demolitions.
"I'd look for money, 'yung lahat na gusto nating gamitin (all that we want to use). We will go for suitable relocation," he explained.
Support for new industries is another strategy his administration would use to help improve the quality of life of those affected by demolitions.
"That is why, itong mga bagong papasok (the new ones coming in), we have to build new industries. We have to create an activity, economics, or otherwise para may pupuntahan sila (so they have something to turn to)," Duterte said.
Though he did not elaborate on how he would implement his policy, Duterte has appointed Vice President Leni Robredo to head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
The agency is tasked with ensuring demolitions all over the country abide by requirements for demolition and relocation based on the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 or Republic Act No. 7279.
According to the law, demolition is only allowed under specific situations such as when the residents occupy danger zones and public places, areas where government infrastructure projects are about to be implemented, or where there is a court order for eviction and demolition. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.