Human Rights

Land marked

If the Ayalas and the local officials and, yes, Noynoy Aquino himself, are to have their way, thousands of families in Quezon City will again be subject to forced relocation very soon. These are the people of North Triangle, whose homes perched on public land (the National Housing Authority’s, to boot) stand in the way of a “business district” catering to multinational corporations and commercial establishments. These people, many of them already former relocatees from demolished communities during past administrations, are again to become refugees in their own country. On September 23, attempts at demolishing Sitio San Roque were repulsed by barricades, stones and defense on the people’s houses with their own bodies. They temporarily succeeded, but the demolishers are determined to have their way.

A woman and a child stand in front of a huge fence separating a privately owned land (which used to be an urban poor community, too), guarded by armed security personnel, like the man behind the fence.

A woman and a child stand in front of a huge fence separating a privately owned land (which used to be an urban poor community, too), guarded by armed security personnel, like the man behind the fence.

    Sitio San Roque is a community of more than 8,000 families, before the "voluntary relocation."

Sitio San Roque is a community of more than 8,000 families, before the "voluntary relocation."

Goats for sale. Before the demolition, San Roque was humming with economic activity.

Goats for sale. Before the demolition, San Roque was humming with economic activity.

An elderly woman smiles while passing through a sari-sari store in San Roque.

An elderly woman smiles while passing through a sari-sari store in San Roque.

A basketball game to break the daily grind. Despite the cramped houses, there are many basketball courts within San Roque.

A basketball game to break the daily grind. Despite the cramped houses, there are many basketball courts within San Roque.

The divide between the plush Landmark shopping center in Trinoma Mall and the impoverished San Roque community.

The divide between the plush Landmark shopping center in Trinoma Mall and the impoverished San Roque community.

A backhoe truck seemingly stands guard between the mall and the urban poor community, the night before the start of the September 23 demolition attempt.

A backhoe truck seemingly stands guard between the mall and the urban poor community, the night before the start of the September 23 demolition attempt.

On the 23rd, the assault began in earnest. As residents, mostly youths, battled the police for control of EDSA, a demolition team went about its business of destroying homes.

On the 23rd, the assault began in earnest. As residents, mostly youths, battled the police for control of EDSA, a demolition team went about its business of destroying homes.

Many temporarily sought shelter beneath the train rails.

Many temporarily sought shelter beneath the train rails.

The houses of these children were among the first to be demolished.

The houses of these children were among the first to be demolished.

Demolilshers fling rocks, bottles and other materials at the barricaders.

Demolilshers fling rocks, bottles and other materials at the barricaders.

A cop, bearing a tear gas gun, surveys the street after the residents momentarily retreated before a hail of rocks and bottles from the demolishers.

A cop, bearing a tear gas gun, surveys the street after the residents momentarily retreated before a hail of rocks and bottles from the demolishers.

But the barricaders fight back and won EDSA -- this time.

But the barricaders fight back and won EDSA -- this time.

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