Quezon City officials on Monday began tearing the gardens stores occupying the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation (MSBF) seven-hectares of land at the corner of Edsa and Quezon Avenue.
Backed by police force and personnel from the city Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) demolition teams tore down more than 30 garden stalls owned by different plant growers who said they have no option but to follow the orders from the city hall—but the authorities do not have any court order or writ, only notices that they should vacate their rented places or face demolition or forcible eviction.
As early as July of 2012, city officials surrounded the MSBF perimeter with tarpaulins proclaiming, “This Property is Forfeited in Favor of the Quezon City Government.”
On December 9, 2013, 17 months after the first take over of the MSBF premises, DPOS personnel and private security guards armed with shotguns, again swooped down on the MSBF gardens.
Huge tarpaulins were added and posted around the perimeter proclaiming that the property had been forfeited in favor of the Quezon City government: “Tenants have been relocated to the Quezon City Memorial Circle,” and “Notice to all tenants: You are hereby given until December 31, 2013 [Tuesday] to transfer/remove all plants and items in your store/shop, while all structures are to be dismantled after the end of the year on a [case by case]basis.”
Former City Administrator Victor Endriga, now designated as Senior Adviser to Mayor Herbert Bautista, said that claims the National Housing Authority and Ayala Land Inc. have already executed a Joint Venture Agreement for the construction and development of the area into a mixed-use complex are false information.
“No. Definitely there is none and it won’t be a mall or condo,” he told The Manila Times through a text reply.
But when informed that one columnist (not in The Manila Times) already disclosed the information, Endriga belied the information.
“Malayo sa katotohan ‘yan. It would be a multibillion-tourism project that every Filipino would be proud of. On a PPP [public-private partnership] project,” Endriga pointed, as what the real plan to the vast area of land.
Asked if the project will include Ayala Land Inc., Endriga replied: “No. Secret muna.”
Meanwhile, MSBF officials and tenants including gardeners vowed to fight back saying abuse of power and land grabbing cases have already been filed in courts and in the Office of the Ombudsman.