BY ROGER M. BALANZA
VIOLENCE IN URBAN POOR ILLEGAL DWELLING DEMOLITION is a three-way street
The urban poor using violence to stop the demolition.
Authorities using violence to implement the demolition order.
And in the case of Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City, using violence to abort an impending violence.
A street in Parañaque City turned into a virtual battle zone early this week as policemen battled with residents of Silverio Compound who were fighting a court order for the demolition of urban poor dwellings.
In one of the bloodiest incidents in the history of demolition, vividly captured on national television, residents hurled huge chunks of rocks, molotov cocktails and other projectiles at dozens of riot policemen, some of whom replied with gunfire and tear gas canisters or by hitting the protesters with batons.
The street battle left one compound dwellers was dead with a gunshot wound in the head. At least 39 other people, four of them policemen, were injured.
Was the violence avoidable?
Yes by strong political will..
Violence happened in Paranaque. It happened in Quezon City. But it was avoided in Davao City. How?
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s punching of a male court sheriff supervising a court-ordered demolition of more than 200 urban poor shanties in Davao City in July 2011 had inspired informal settlers facing eviction in Balara, Quezon City to hope they have a mayor like her.
“Sana si Duterte na lang ang mayor namin!!” then barked several large streamers at the background of angry informal settlers face-to-face with demolition crews and their 150-man police escort poised to tear down about 300 shanties.
The Quezon City scene early this year and the recent Paranaque demolition were practically a repeat of the incident in Agdao District in Davao City .
The difference is that in Davao City the demolition crews and their police escorts retreated to forego the demolition after an irate Mayor Duterte arrived and went ballistic by punching to the face several times court sheriff Abe Andres who was implementing the court-ordered demolition.
In the Quezon City incident, wrecking crews demolished 350 houses on a one-ha private property in Barangay Old Balara in Commonwealth Avenue despite resistance from residents that led to a brief outbreak of violence.
Without a Mayor Duterte coming to their plight.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista had intervened during the negotiations towards a win-win solution and requested for a five-day reprieve but this was refused by the property owner who was also armed with a demolition from the court.