Aquino urged to rescind QCCBD project

“Aquino promised to provide us with decent shelter using billions of pesos from the Informal Settler Fund (ISF), but only provided us with far-flung relocation sites that lack basic social services and employment opportunities.” – residents


MANILA — Residents of North Triangle in Quezon City are calling on the government to withdraw from the Quezon City Central Business District (QCCBD) project, following anew the blocking of the road along EDSA that led to their community.

“Three years of people’s resistance to the QCCBD should bring the project back to its drawing board,” Jocy Lopez, chairperson of Kadamay – North Triangle, said.

On Oct. 30, security guards reportedly put up blockades along EDSA that blocked the community’s road. Residents were told that it is for their safety as the Makati Development Corporation would be implementing the next phase of Vertis North, a high-rise condominium building.

Residents removed the blockades twice, on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, but the security guards, allegedly hired by the Ayala Land, Inc., were “quick to close the passageways again.”

The community was home to some 10,000 families until then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 670 or the Rationalizing and Speeding up the Development of East and North Triangles and the Veterans Memorial Area in Quezon City back in 2004. The 256-hectare project will supposedly put Quezon City at the forefront of foreign investments.

(Photo by J. Ellao /
(Photo by J. Ellao /

A violent demolition first happened on Sept. 23, 2010, this time under President Aquino. He then pronounced a moratorium on demolition until the technical group, which was consequently formed, would recommend how to deal with the urban poor communities. Months later, the said technical group recommended an on-city relocation rather than off-city.

As of this writing, however, residents of North Triangle are still being relocated to resettlement areas, either in Rodriguez, Rizal or in Bulacan. The same is true for other urban poor communities in Metro Manila.

Residents, during their recent dialogue with the Department of Interior and Local Government, called on President Aquino to withdraw from the QCCBD plan.

‘War zone’

Around 1:00 a.m. of Nov. 1, urban poor group Kadamay said the community turned into a “war zone.”

Kadamay said 150 blue guards arrived and closed the entrance of the community facing EDSA. The group added they received reports that some of the security guards were drunk and were carrying long firearms.

A scuffle ensued and residents threw stones and bottles against the security guards to defend their homes while gunshots were heard from the side of the police.

Three empty bullet shells were found just in front of Randy Lara’s house.

At around 9 a.m., residents removed the blockades and stopped vehicles from passing EDSA for around five minutes to express their protest against the blocking of their community’s entrance.

“Ayala’s blue guards and the police could try to close the gate anytime, but residents will destroy it again and again. Even if they are armed with high powered rifles, they are still no match to the thousands of residents who have grown tired and angry of the abuses of the Aquino government,” Estrelieta Bagasbas, chairperson of September 23 Movement, said.

Livelihood affected

Lara, 26, who was born and raised in North Triangle, said that Ayala’s blocking of the community’s entrance along EDSA does not only make the demolition more imminent but has also affected their livelihood.

Randy Lara earns by selling in front of his house. (Photo by J. Ellao /
Randy Lara earns by selling in front of his house. (Photo by J. Ellao /

“Before they blocked the entrance, the food we’re selling would be sold out by 1 p.m. A lot of people pass this street, on their way to EDSA. But ever since they blocked it, people are no longer passing by here. They do shortcuts,” he told

After a series of protests, the Ayala-hired security guards and eventually allowed residents to pass by a narrow alley so they would have access to EDSA. They guard the alley day and night.

Lara, whose entire family depends on the small store they have, said they hardly earn nowadays. He used to earn around P200 for every two cases of softdrinks he could sell. “Now, the ice would already turn into water before one gets bought.”

“I was very angry when I learned about what happened. I went from one media office to another, knocking at their doors very early in that morning. I want them to know what is happening. When I got back, the scuffle was over,” Lara added.

Lara said it is important to open the road, “because what if there is an emergency? Where are we going to pass?”

Not a road-widening project

Bagasbas told that hundreds of homes were demolished to give way to a supposed road-widening project at EDSA. But months later, the Makati Development Corporation started the construction of Vertis North.

“This government that only favors the interest of big businessmen like Ayala has taught us to become rebellious of the current system. Aquino promised to provide us with decent shelter using billions of pesos from Informal Settler Fund (ISF), but only provided us with far-flung relocation sites that lack basic social services and employment opportunities,” Bagasbas said.

Residents vowed to hold bigger protest action against threats of demolition.

“While (Aquino) remains dismissive of the people’s clamor, we will not be satisfied with blocking EDSA for only 5 minutes. Next time, it will be a permanent barricade,” Bagasbas said. (

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