More Than 6,000 Urban Poor Families Defy Order to Resettle in ‘Mental-ban’

There are about 3,000 of the total 9,000 families who have accepted the government’s offer. But Gupo said there are some who have returned from the relocation site because there are no livelihood opportunities available in Montalban.

“What would you do with a fancy house if you cannot earn a living?” Gupo said, “Are they telling us to eat the wall instead?”

Gupo said transferring to Montalban would create difficulties for children studying in public schools nearby and for those who are employed in offices within Quezon City and in neighboring cities. Most of the residents are minimum wage earners and at times, earn less. They are working either as security guards, construction workers, drivers or salesladies. Gupo said if they transfer and live in Montalban, they would spend P120 ($3) more for their fare.

Worse, Gupo told Bulatlat, the relocation site is right in the middle of the Marikina fault Line. He said the fault line extends from the Sierra Madre mountain range to Bulacan, eastern Metro Manila Rizal and Tagaytay City. The Philippine Institute of Volcano and Seismology, which has been monitoring the movement of the earth along the fault line, said it could generate an earthquake with an intensity of 7.2 magnitude.

“It is not recommended for housing facilities because in five to ten years time, it might open up,” Gupo said. With this, they now dub their relocation area in Montalban as “Mental-ban’ because, he said, it would be mental to resettle there in the first place, and secondly, those who have accepted the government’s offer would lose their sanity with the miserable life that awaits all of them.

The Quezon City Central Business District (QCBD) is a 256-hectare project that would supposedly put Quezon City, if not the entire country, “at the forefront of global investment and business interest.” (Photo by Jennifer Chan /

‘On-site’ or ‘In-city’ Schemes

Gupo said they are not fighting to own the land but to get what is due and fair to them. He said urban dwellers in Sitio San Roque should get an “on-site” or “in-city” relocation. The on-site relocation they are pushing for is the construction of a semi-high rise building or bliss type housing facility that would be placed within the QCCBD compound. The in-city, on the other hand,would be a relocation area within Quezon City.

The residents have already held a dialogue with the NHA four times since they first received the 30-day notice of demolition on May 2010. They were hoping that the government agency would consider their suggestions. However, Gupo said, NHA officials are insisting that they would have to transfer and resettle in Montalban.

The houses in the relocation area, on the other hand, which are supposedly worth P250,000 ($5,681)each, would not be given for free. On the second year, those who would be relocated would have to pay P200 ($4.54) monthly amortization and P600 ($13.63) from their fifth year onwards.

With the threats of demolition only two or three days as of press time, Gupo said, the residents are ready to defend their homes and their rights.

“I will only put my family in much more danger if we decide to go to Montalban. We would rather stay and fight instead,” Vidas said. (

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3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. sorry but i do not sympathize with squatters. building a house on a land that does not belong to you is illegal. kaya tayo di umaasenso. hindi na nga nila lupa, pag pinalayas mo sila pa ang matapang at ang dami pang dahilan kesyo kawawa ang mga anak nila, etc. they should have thought of that before building a house on a land that DOES NOT BELONG TO THEM.

  2. Just look at the pictures that you have proudly displayed. It says "QCBD IBASURA". This is typical of the campaign lines that you have adopted on many issues. And what is the result? Our country has begun to be a nation of thrash? Why could you not learn to build and improve with our talent? If only you are not always taking the line of oppositor to development, there are many ways by which you could earn an honest living without being opposed by other people.

  3. How was their right violated when they did not own the land that they occupied in the first place? Aren't they who violated other people's right in the first place? Now, if you would justify this because of their poverty then are you saying that any action they take is justified because of poverty? Why is it that there are many Filipinos who started as poor but managed to improve their lives without violating the rights of others. If you will continue to advocate this way to development, then you are really provoking Filipinos to fight one another.

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