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Urban Demolitions – Mayor punches Sheriff

July 2, 2011

This was on the news yesterday regarding the Mayor of Davao city (southern part of philippines) and demolitions

As more and more peasants leave the country side due to poverty and move into the city, they build their homes on vacant lands. Recently, the government (Aquino) has begun selling off a lot of the public lands to developers. The developers then get the police to clear people off the land and a team of demolition people take the homes down.

Typically, those who are displaced must find a new place to reside and re-build their homes (which I imagine is pretty difficult seeing has they earn a very small amount and there aren’t many available plots of land). On the occasion where government offers to relocate the communities, it is often far outside of the city and away from jobs, schools, health services.

As you can see in the video, there is a clash with community members and police. Many of the communities that are slated to be demolished get organized, put up barricades to try to defend their homes from demolitions. By organizing sometimes they are also able to win concessions from the government (the government offers land within the city where they can relocate).

In the video, the women (Mayor of Davao city) punches the man (court sheriff) because she had been in negotiations to try and find an area to relocate the community, but the sheriff sent in the police to clear people out.

I was told that the mayor (and her father, the previous mayor) is an ally to the social movements as they fight for poor people. The father once released an NPA general into his custody. They’ve also worked against the extra judicial killings.

I remember speaking to someone who attends a private university here and he told me that the father is infamous because of his tough on crime approach – he executes drug dealers and criminals (I’m not sure whether we’re talking about small time drug dealers or larger organizations and paramilitary forces). The person did not mention anything about the mayor’s work to prevent extra judicial killings – its interesting who chooses to focus on what human rights abuses.

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From → urban poor

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