The League of Filipino Students (LFS) expresses its utmost condemnation of the ruthless dispersal of the residents of Silverio Compound in Parañaque by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday, April 23, 2012.
The 9.7 hectares of Silverio Compound, home to around 28 thousand families, is being claimed by Henry Sy’s SM Group for the construction of condominiums. In an attempt to hold off the impending demolition, the residents set up a barricade to which the US-Aquino regime and the local government responded by deploying the PNP, typical of their fascist and anti-poor character. The resulting commotion resulted in 4 deaths and 36 arrested from the ranks of the residents, with several injured.
The grim incident is not an isolated case. Elsewhere, countless families from urban poor communities are also at risk of losing their homes, as is the case in Sitio San Roque, Brgy. Pag-asa, North Triangle, Quezon City. The government’s approach in the issue of demolitions is a stark exposition of its disregard for the rights and the welfare of the people. While more and more people lose their homes, the government allows compradors like Sy to continue expanding their business empires to bleed the people dry of their wealth.
Applying force fueled by capitalist greed is a given for Sy and his fellow compradors. What’s more deplorable, however, is the state’s collaboration with the bourgeoisie to pursue their self-serving interests. As evinced from the demolition, it would even go as far as employing violence to suppress the people only defending their democratic rights.
The LFS denounces the current US-Aquino regime and the local government unit of Parañaque for allowing the Silverio Massacre to happen. We decry their course of action of selling the land the residents of Silverio Compound call home to Sy and his business empire as part of the public-private partnership program of the government, compliant to the US’ framework of neoliberalism. We also dispute Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe’s claims that the residents’ militant resistance was instigated by outsiders. Mr. Bernabe should be aware that when their very basice rights are trampled upon, the people left with nothing are left with no choice but to fight—this is not rocket science. We call on the government to cease demolition operations immediately.
We also demand the prosecution of all PNP personnel involved for allowing themselves to become instruments of state-sponsored violence and for their violation of the residents’ human rights. We condemn their vilification of the people only defending their homes and livelihood, and their denial of their hand in the deaths, injuries, and inhumane treatment towards the residents despite clear media footage of police brutality, with one even indiscriminately firing at the barricade. We demand the urgent release of the residents and supporters arrested by the police.
The LFS calls on every Filipino to denounce the violent demolition of Silverio Compound. We call on every patriotic citizen to stand in solidarity in condemning the injustice done to our fellow countrymen, and to participate in future protest actions and mobilizations to exact justice from those held accountable.
The tragedy that is the Silverio Massacre is no longer just a question of land ownership. The incident is a wakeup call to the nation to acknowledge the presence of urban poor communities in the supposedly prosperous capital of the country and to further examine the underlying cause of what makes people live in such conditions. What happened in Silverio Compound should be the alarm that alerts the population for the need to return to the basic masses and dedicate their selves in the service of the people, living with them and organizing them to stand up for themselves. It pleads to every Filipino to unite under one banner in the struggle for their democratic rights free from oppression.
The fight is far from over.