Another demolition attempt at Sitio Balubad in Angeles City, foiled
Residents of Sityo Balubad, Barangay Anunas, Angeles City thwarted yet another attempt by the police, with the complicity of Clarkhills Properties Corporation, to demolish their community since February 7. At least 100 police and SWAT members, with an additional 50 personnel, were sent to the site to forcibly evict the residents.
The planned demolition will affect more than 500 households in the 72-hectare land claimed by the said company. An estimated 2,000 residents are victims of land grabbing. In addition, it is feared that the adjacent barangays of Cuayan and Sapangbato will also be affected by landgrabbing and demolition.
Despite the absence of a memorandum order, the police, SWAT and demolition team once again forcibly entered the people’s barricade in Sitio Balubad. The police forces not only looted, but even beat and injured the leg of the owner of the house they tried to demolish. Other residents immediately responded and defended their community.
The police wantonly terrorizes the residents. They cocked their firearms against civilians. The demolition team threw stones at the residents injuring 20. State forces and the demolition team even returned the next day and forced their way into the barricade.
The solidarity and defense of the residents once again drove the police away and foiled the demolition. This is also what happened in October 2023 when an attempt was made to dismantle their barricade to enforce the demolition.
The families in the site demand that they own the land and that they have certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) and receipt of full payment to the Landbank of the Philippines.
The Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), the regional branch of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, also reiterated their support to the residents. AMGL denounced Mayor Pogi Lazatin who promised no demolition would take place. Lazatin kept silent amid the police’s violence and riots.
“The City Council also issued a resolution stating there will be no demolition if potential victims have no relocation (sites), but until now the municipality has not taken any action to defend the rights of its constituents!” according to the group.
They also condemned the police and SWAT for allowing themselves to be used by the private company Clarkhills who assaulted the residents.
Meanwhile, the group said that this situation of Sityo Balubad is not isolated from other parts of the region. They said it is part of the aggressive “development” projects in the entire province of Pampanga and even in Central Luzon solely for the profit of a few. This is part of the grand Greater Capital Region plan being peddled by businessmen and the wealthy, the group explained.