“Why are you still fighting? There is nothing to fight for. You will all be demolished,” residents quoted a security guard who was threatening them.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Residents of North Triangle in Quezon City are calling on the government to pull out private security guards reportedly hired and deployed to their community by the National Housing Authority and Ayala Land.
Estrelieta Bagasbas, spokesperson of the Concerned Organizations Opposed to Transfer, Lay-off, Privatization and Demolition due to QCCBD (CONTRACBD), said there are about 100 guards deployed in their community.
“They locked the gates along Agham Road to keep us from passing there. We have to use a longer route. At times, they try to intimidate us by showing off their guns,” Bagasbas told Bulatlat.com.
The said gates were installed after the demolition of homes along Agham Road on Jan. 27, 2014 to supposedly give way to the 10-meter road widening project. Along Agham Road alone, there are seven gates that were installed but only one is open for residents to pass through.
On May 27, 2014, security guards locked all gates to prevent residents from leaving the community to hold a protest action in front of the Ayala-owned mall Trinoma. Bagasbas said they were eventually allowed to pass through one gate. Since then, only one has remained open.
There are still some 4,500 families residing in North Triangle, according to Bagasbas. Their homes are being demolished to give way to the Quezon City Central Business District, a 256-hectare project that would supposedly put Quezon City at the forefront of foreign investments.
Aside from locking the gates, Bagasbas said, security guards have also been harassing residents. A certain Osman, one of the guards, she said, always carried his gun around the community. She added that the said guard once aimed his gun at residents who were insisting to pass through one of the gates they locked.
Osman was quoted as saying, “It will just take one bullet to put you down. And if I end up killing you, you would never find me.”
Bagasbas said one of the security guards told her, “Why are you still fighting? There is nothing to fight for. You will all be demolished.”
Security guards, she added, also extort money from residents who wanted to have their houses fixed.
Bagasbas said residents are not allowed to fix their homes, no matter how small the renovation would be. But if residents would pay the guards at least P500 ($11), they would be allowed to.
“Right now, it is raining. And it is dripping here inside the house. But I cannot have it fixed. The money they would ask from me is possibly more expensive than fixing the roof,” Bagasbas told Bulatlat.com.
Bagasbas is calling on the government to act on the plight of at least 20 families who now reside along the sidewalk near the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. She added that these families used to live near the Manila Seedling Bank, which was demolished early this year.
On May 27, 2014, residents of North Triangle held a protest action in front of the Ayala-owned mall Trinoma in Quezon City to commemorate the fourth month since the demolition of homes along Agham Road to supposedly give way to a 10-meter road widening project.
Residents said 44 were injured and 309 suffocated from the teargas fired at them, 167 of who are children.
“Only President Aquino and his friends are enjoying the fruits of the supposed growth in the economy. The poor are left to suffer.” Bagasbas said, “This is not just about the demolition of our homes but it is also a deprivation of our livelihood and the denial of access to education to our children.”