Karapatan sa Paninirahan Ipaglaban!
CNS Statement on the Violent Demolition and Illegal Arrests in Corazon De Jesus
Center for Nationalist Studies, UP Diliman
Earlier today, January 11, San Juan City Government showed its true color as a repressive and anti-poor local government contrary to all of its pro-poor propaganda as it ruthlessly demolished the community of Brgy. Corazon De Jesus leaving hundreds of its own citizens homeless, dozens injured, and over two dozen arrested for defending their homes and exercising their right to peacefully assemble.
San Juan City Police, SWAT, and demolition teams entered Corazon de Jesus this morning and violently dispersed residents defending their homes, with riot police, tear gas, and high-caliber weapons; arresting over 18 persons including alternative media practitioner and CNS member Shane David, who was covering the demolition operation. Those arrested were brutally beaten by police and demolition team members. The sheer brutality of the San Juan Government and its units resulted in dozens of injuries, two of which are deemed critical.
At the indignation rally held by residents and students at San Juan Police Station 4 on Pinaglabanan St, 10 others were arrested for “illegal assembly” as the peaceful gathering was dispersed with San Juan riot police, including four UP students: CNS member Alexamuel Vadil, STAND-UP Secretary General and Anakbayan UP Diliman member RG Tesa, League of Filipino Students-CMC Chair Thomas Benjamin “Toby” Roca, and LFS-CMC member Wowie Tubije. The four UP students were eventually released around 9pm after negotiations with the San Juan Police.
The Center for Nationalist Studies condemns this action by the San Juan City Government under Mayor Guia Gomez, the mistress of the corrupt and imperialist puppet Joseph Estrada whose son; and her son, Congressman and former Mayor JV Ejercito to leave hundreds of their own citizens homeless in order to allegedly make way for a new City Hall and commercial complex with medium-rise housing at rates unaffordable by the city’s urban poor.
The San Juan City Government justifies this demolition by claiming that relocation sites are available in Montalban, Rizal away from the ‘squalor’ that is the Corazon de Jesus settlement. However, the fact remains that the relocation sites are made of dangerous, substandard materials and that the site provides no sustainable livelihood for the citizens of Corazon de Jesus, whose jobs are here in Manila. Viable and equitable alternatives such as on-site development and in-city relocation have been rejected by the San Juan Government, choosing instead to respond to the just demands of its citizens with force. This action proves that this local government and the national government’s priorities and policies are anti-citizen and anti-poor, as it encourages economic growth at the cost of social and economic rights of its citizens while at the same time reducing the budget for social services such as health, education, and housing.
CNS supports the efforts and struggle of the citizens of Corazon de Jesus for their democratic rights.
We condemn the illegal arrest and detention of CDJ residents and activist-leaders!
Justice for Corazon de Jesus!
Free the CDJ 24!
Fight for decent housing!
Fight the semi-feudal system!