Several militant groups on Monday marched from Nicanor Reyes Street (also known as Morayta) to Mendiola Street in Manila to protest the threat of demolition in various parts of the country amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) led the Urban Poor March Against Demolitions to call for the protection of housing rights for the poor.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, demolitions in Tondo (Manila), Valenzuela, Bulacan, among other places, still continue, the group said.
Members of labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno also claimed that police officers tried to confiscate some of their protest materials.
Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, Manila Police District (MPD) director, said the police should have gone further and arrested the protesters because they staged a rally without a permit.
However, the 80 police officers who were deployed during the rally were instructed to practice “maximum tolerance,” he said.
“Kung gusto nila sumunod sa zero demolitions, dapat sumunod sila sa zero squatting (If they want zero demolitions, they should observe zero squatting),” he told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview. “Kung hindi sila magnanakaw ng bahay ng may bahay, lupa ng may lupa (If only they do not steal houses and lands that are already owned).”