It is dreadful that amid the deplorable situation of the dozens of families whose makeshift shelters were torn down despite the threats of the coronavirus disease, police forces remain relentless in peddling lies to invalidate the legitimate calls of people for comprehensive responses to address the pandemic and their struggle for decent housing. 

Contrary to the claims of Manila Police District (MPD) chief Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda that the demolition was aimed at rescuing the displaced residents by relocating them to a safer place, the families of the community of Maisan in Sampaloc, Manila now face greater threats of getting sick.

If the police is certain that the residents are now in a better condition, why are they now staying at a small building with no proper ventilation, with some even seeking shelters from small spaces within the vicinity because the building can no longer accommodate all of them?

To remind Miranda, the dwellers do not violate the law by choosing to remain outside! They simply have choice because they have no homes. They only have their makeshift homes. After the demolition in October 2019, as a result of the residents’ dialogue with Manila’s local government, they were supposedly working out the details on an onsite relocation of the City Hall’s housing program.

The MPD’s pronouncement regarding Karapatan’s statement is a proof that this regime expressly dismisses dissent, shooting messengers instead of quickly responding comprehensively to the crux of the issue – the welfare of the people.

The government should seriously rethink its policies in addressing the problems faced amid of the pandemic, instead of militarizing approaches and focus efforts to solve the legitimate calls of the Filipino people.

KARAPATAN
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. Karapatan Public Information Desk: +639189790580 | publicinfo@karapatan.org