The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to inform you that no action has yet been taken to compensate or relocate victims of the illegal demolition that took place in Dacudao Compound in Davao City last October and November 2004 (see further: UA-152-2004).
Under the Philippines domestic law, executive order no.152 states, “designating the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) as the sole clearing house for the conduct of demolition and eviction activities involving the homeless and underprivileged citizens and establishing for the purpose a mechanism to ensure strict compliance with the requirements of just and human demolition and eviction under the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, and for other purposes.”
In light of this law, the AHRC urges everyone to intervene in this case. Please send a letter to the Commissioner for the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, the Hon. Luzminda B. Salcedo demanding him to take immediate action into this matter. A sample letter can bee found below and contact information of authorities of the Philippine government can be seen in our previous urgent appeal above.
For your better understanding of the case, we provide you with the background of the evicted families’ fight for their right to housing.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
The contested property is about 12,863 sq. meters or 1.2863 hectares, allocated as open space for public market by Dakudao and Sons, in its duly approved subdivision plan on 9 September 1957, which is dominated as Block 3, lot 1 in the approved subdivision plan of Dakudao & Sons, by which the express provision of law was supposedly automatically donated to the City Government of Davao.
Some of the informal occupants who built their dwelling units in a certain portions of the land of Dakudao & Sons Subdivision were demolished to give way to big businesses and/or Chinese lot buyers. The informal occupants were then resettled and or relocated in the open space officially allocated as public market site. Some of them built their dwelling units since 1963 and some entered in the early 1990s, others are either renters or sharers within the built dwelling units (data taken from the Committee Against Squatting Syndicates and Professional Squatters (CASSPS), as per their resolution no. 6 series of 2004).
On 19 October 2004, 127 families (254 individuals, excluding children) from the Gov. P. Bangoy Sitio Dacudao Homeowners Association and 30 families renting, were affected by the illegal demolition that took place in Dacudao Compound, Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. The demolition was conducted by personnel’s from different local government agencies; headed by 18 personnel’s from the City Engineers office (CEO), 12 members from Task Force Davao, 50 members from the Philippine National Police (PNP), 10 members from Davao City Police Office (DCPO), 3 personnel’s from the City Housing office and accompanied by 800 men hired by the Dacudao & Sons, Inc. (data was taken from the monitoring report submitted by the PCUP).
The evicted families had no recourse so they decided to build their shanties along the road, just in front of the demolition site as their temporary shelter. On November 4, these shanties were demolished by the City Engineers Office of Davao City, who said that they were road obstacles/hazards.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
20 November 2002 – the association filed petition to the Office of the City Council, for the adoption of a city ordinance to formally declare block no. 3, Lot 1 containing an area of 12, 863 sq. meters (1.2863 hectares) of the DaKudao & Sons subdivision as permanent relocation site in accordance with R.A. 7279 and that the same be awarded to the petitioners.
17 February 17 2003 – the Housing and Homesite Division of the Office of the City Planning and Development conducted census in the lot occupied by the petitioners. According to the victims, they were deceived when the census was conducted. They claimed that there was an advance party (a certain group of people) telling them to declare a high income so that they can avail for housing benefits. Later on, the result of the census was taken by the Committee Against Squatting Syndicates and Professional Squatters (CASSPS) and thus declaring the majority of the residents as “professional squatters”.
18 May 18 2003 – the Dakudao & Sons Inc. filed their comment/opposition paper to the Office of the City Council. They asserted that they are the sole owner of the lot as they did not donate it to the City for public use and that they had a legal and valid reason to alter the lot as it is located within the major commercial zone.
3 June 2003 – the Office of the City Legal issued legal opinion and denied the claim of the petitioners as the lot is reserved for public use and has not been used due to the illegal occupation of the informal settlers. The legal opinion also stated that the Dakudao and Sons could neither claim the lot as it is mandated by law that in a subdivision, there should be space allocated for public use and should be donated to the city/municipality. Hence, the local government declared the lot as government/public property.
20 June 20 2003 – the petitioners thru their legal counsel Atty. Gregorio Andolana filed a Rejoinder with Motion to Set Continuation of Hearing, at the office of the City Council. The rejoinder emphasized that said P.D. 957 had long been amended and accordingly modified by Presidential Decree No. 1216, thereby making it mandatory for the developer to donate and the local government to accept the donation of that portion of subdivision area allocated for roads, alleys, sidewalk, park and playground and open spaces. He reiterated that R.A. 7279 which took effect on March 1992 amended and modified P.D. 1216.
It is also argued in the rejoinder that R.A. 7279 otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, the unused area allocated for market site which has not been used for the purposes it was allocated for more than ten (10) years since March 26, 1992 is a priority area for socialized housing to be awarded to the petitioners.
8 August 8 2003 – the residents received the first order of removal issued by the City Engineers Office stating that their houses does not have building permits and that they have to vacate the place within fifteen (15) days upon receipt of the order;
2 September 2003 – the petitioners lobbied at the city council and they were heard during the council session. The City council made a resolution requesting the Office of the Mayor thru the City Engineers Office to suspend any order of demolition against the affected residents of Dakudao open space.
21 January 21 2004 – the Dakudao & Sons Inc. thru their legal counsel Atty. Carfelita Cadiente-Flores, sent a letter to the petitioners requesting a conference to be conducted on January 24, 2004 at 2:00 in the afternoon at the Gov. P. Bangoy barangay hall;
24 January 24 2004 – the conference took place and the Dakudao & Sons Inc. thru their counsel, offered relocation for the residents of Block 3, Lot 1. The petitioners asked for time to discuss things first among themselves;
23 September 2004 – the office of the Dakudao & Sons, Inc. issued a certification and was sent to the National Secretariat of the PCUP, claiming that the illegal occupants in the open space had been offered with free relocation lots located at Cabantian, Buhangin, Davao City and Daliao, Toril, Davao City. Dakudao & Sons claimed also that the said occupants were offered financial assistance in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00), in addition to the free relocation lots and offered their services to help them dismantle their illegal structures and trucking services;
On that same day, the office of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), head office in Manila issued a certificate of compliance on demolition addressed to the City Government of Davao signed by Mr. Percival C. Chavez, the chairman & CEO. Mr. Chavez stated in his certificate that the said proponent (City of Davao) has complied with the requirements prescribed under Section 27, pre-eviction and demolition phase of Republic act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992. He also stated that a free relocation package will be given to each family by the landowner as duly certified by the proponent;
11 October 2004 – the petitioners filed a civil case thru their lawyer Atty. Andolana, against the defendants Dacudao & Sons, Inc., City Mayor, City administrator Wendell E. Avisado and OIC Leoncio B. Evasco Jr., Office of the City Engineer for Mandamus, Injunction with Prayer for the Issuance of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order at the Regional Trial Court, branch 14.
In the complaint, Atty. Andolana cited in particular, par 8.b, portion, “hence prayer for the urgent issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and immediately thereafter a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against any and all of the defendants thereby enjoining and restraining defendants from summarily removing and uprooting plaintiffs’ homes, dwelling places and structures in the subject public (market) open space.”
19 October 2004 – at around 8:00 in the morning, all the houses in Block 3 Lot 1 were demolished. 98 structures were destroyed including their chapel and 127 families were affected. The demolition team did not serve any document or demolition order from the court.
LEGAL BASES FOR THE RIGHT TO HOUSING
1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – adopted on 10 December 1948.
Article 25 everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.
Article 17 everyone has the right to own property as well as in association of others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
2) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) adopted on 16 December 1966, entered into forced on 3 January 1976.
Article XI the state parties to the present covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The state parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent.
1) 1987 Philippine Constitution
Article XIII, Section 10 states that urban and rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwellings demolished, except in accordance with law and in a just and humane manner.
2) Republic Act no. 7279 Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992, “An act to provide for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program, establish the mechanism for it’s implementation and for other purposes.
3) Section 28 Eviction and Demolition eviction or demolition as a practice shall be discouraged. Eviction or demolition, however maybe allowed under the following situations:
a) when persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways and other public places as sidewalks, roads, parks and playgrounds;
b) when government infrastructure projects with available funding area about to be implemented, or
c) when there is a court order for eviction and demolition.
Duties and responsibilities of the concerned agency in cases of eviction and demolition:
Executive order No. 152 Designating the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) as the sole clearing house for the conduct of demolition and eviction activities involving the homeless and underprivileged citizens and establishing for the purpose a mechanism to ensure strict compliance with the requirements of just and humane demolition and eviction under the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, and for other purposes.
Please send a letter to the Commissioner for the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor and copies to local authorities.
Hon. Luzminda B. Salcedo
Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor
Field Operations Division for Mindanao
D-12, Pelayo Bldg., J. Luna Street
8000 Davao City,
Telefax: +63 82 226 2492
Dear Hon. Luzminda B. Salcedo,
Re: illegal demolition of 127 family homes in Davao City
I am writing to you about the illegal demolition of homes that took place in Dacudao Compound, Agdao, Davao city, Mindanao on October 19 and November 4, 2004. 127 families lost their home on that fateful day. No action has yet been taken to compensate or relocate the victims of the said demolition.
According to domestic law, executive order no.152, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) is “the sole clearing house for the conduct of demolition and eviction activities involving the homeless and underprivileged citizens and establishing for the purpose a mechanism to ensure strict compliance with the requirements of just and humane demolition and eviction under the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, and for other purposes“.
Therefore, I urge your Commission to take immediate proper action to protect the victims of these illegal demolitions. I also urge your Commission to pressure the relevant authorities to provide proper housing to the families in accordance with Philippines’ Constitution and its international obligation under the ICESCR.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)