THE government will not demolish squatters’ shanties if it has not identified a suitable relocation site for the families to be affected, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chairman Terry Ridon said on Thursday.
Ridon gave this assurance as he reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of “no demolition without relocation.”
“Under the leadership of the President, he has made it clear that there will be no demolition without relocation,” Ridon said in a press briefing, adding that squatters should not be punished for being poor.
Ridon said Duterte’s economic and development plan, which was unveiled on Tuesday, is focused on helping the poor.
“I think we have to remember that PCUP is the final clearance for all the demolitions particularly for infra projects,” Ridon said.
“So even if we speak about big-ticket infrastructure projects, I think part of the spending will most definitely be made towards relocation of many of the affected informal settler families,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ridon said they support the President’s decision allowing members of Kadamay to continue occupying idle houses in Bulacan.
“We believe that the President was guided by principles of social justice in making his pronouncement that serves as an affirmation of his firm commitment that no one will be left behind in this administration,” he added.
The government will no longer implement off-site resettlement to prevent the economic dislocation of informal settler families.
“It is our hope to see a future in which there are no people without houses and there are no houses without people,” Ridon said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE