Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:46:00 09/21/2009
Filed Under: Government, Poverty, Subversion
LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA—Militant groups based in Southern Luzon on Saturday hit back at Vice President Noli de Castro for his remarks against hecklers who disrupted his speech during a recent event.
Some 50 militants staged a lightning rally on Thursday while De Castro was giving out certificates to housing program beneficiaries here. They accused De Castro of promoting anti-poor programs.
The militants—led by the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap-Southern Tagalog, Bayan Muna-Southern Tagalog and Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog—consisted mainly of urban poor victims of demolition.
They held up placards and chanted: “Noli, salot sa maralita (plague of the poor)” They were soon dispersed but no one was hurt.
De Castro is also chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The militants identified the Southville relocation site in Cabuyao, Laguna as one of the anti-poor policies being pushed by De Castro.
They said the residents of Southville had been affected by the SouthRail project of the government. They had been deprived of basic social services, according to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog deputy secretary general Christine Macabetcha.
SouthRail is a multimillion-dollar project that will link Laguna to Bicol through a high-speed train service.
During his speech on Thursday, De Castro called the militants KSP or “kulang sa pansin (lacking attention).” He said those who cannot pay for the housing program will naturally be evicted. He added that people who default on their payments are probably just lazy.
In his Saturday radio program, De Castro said he was not sorry for his remarks.
“We really lack attention,” Macabetcha admitted in Filipino, adding that they needed government attention when it came to basic social services.
Many children have died because of the environment and lack of medical services in Southville, she said.
“Noli’s behavior is very unbecoming,” Macabetcha added, “he is a public official.”
“De Castro says those who cannot not pay P300 per month are lazy. The problem here is a family of six lives on P100 per day,” she said.
Karen Lapitan, Inquirer Southern Luzon