Monday, December 12, 2011

Mayor Sara Duterte awarded by Malacañang for 'heroic' defense of Davao City squatters

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte was recently reported to have been awarded by the Philippine Government's Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP). The award "recognizes individuals from various sectors who are known to help informal settlers".

The award presumably recognises Duterte's infamous "heroic" assault on an officer of a Philippine court back in July 2011. Apparently what it means to "help informal settlers" in this case involves the use of violence against an officer of a Philippine court of Law...
An imminent riot at a squatter demolition site and TV cameras on the scene. It seemed to be a perfect opportunity for a publicity stunt. Perhaps this was the motivation behind Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's assault on court sheriff Abe Andres who was acting on orders from his superiors to proceed with a demolition of illegally-built structures that were home to 500 families in Barangay Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Suliman, Agdao.

And this being the Philippines, playing the victim card in such cases where the Law is otherwise clear on the matter becomes a sure thing...
Unfortunately for the hapless landowner, the Philippines is a society that likes to play the “humanitarian” card when it comes to squatters. Even the use of the word “squatter” has for some time been routinely dropped in “polite” conversation in favour of the euphemism “informal settler.” Indeed, “human rights” activists have been quick to side with Duterte, in the process becoming apologists for a mayor who, in front of TV cameras, launched into an unprovoked assault against Andres, an officer of the Judiciary who, apparently, was just out to implement a court order.

Not surprisingly, the PCUP is a legacy of the "pro-poor" stance taken by the administration of the late former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino back in 1986 in response to a clamor for a "moratorium" on the demolition of structures built illegally on both private and public property...
On April 10, 1986, a significant number of urban poor marched to Malacañang asking for a moratorium on demolitions. It was then that the Presidential Arm on Urban Poor Affairs (PAUPA) was created. This was subsequently changed to Presidential Committee for the Urban Poor (PCUP) as a result of a National Consultation Workshop by two major urban poor alliances on May 30-June 2, 1986.

The name Presidential Council for the Urban Poor was later adopted in lieu of the Presidential Committee for the Urban Poor.

Finally, on December 8, 1986, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor was created by President Corazon C. Aquino through Executive Order No. 82 “to serve as a direct link of the urban poor to the government in policy formulation and program implementation addressed to their needs”.

Duterte who, along with the dynastic clan to which she belongs to have ruled Davao for years using less-than-lawful methods.

And it just so happens that this is the Second Aquino Administration of presidential son Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who happens to be in the middle of a national crusade against anything that has to do with the Philippine Judiciary. As such the timing and nature of the award is hardly surprising.

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