Before 9 AM today, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) demolition trucks transporting demolition teams and equipment started to appear one by one along East Bank Road in Manggahan Floodway, Barangay Sta. Lucia, Pasig City. Police were also spotted. MMDA personnel said the three-day clearing operations were only for those who have availed government housing and who will be demolished today.

Residents feared that the “clearing operations” might be used for the demolition of all their homes. The demolition of homes in the disputed land have been put off twice in recent times, one on August 31 where a violent dispersal of the resident’s barricade protest ensued, with 41 arrested, including 10 minors. Another is a scheduled demolition on September 26 that the Pasig local government unit (LGU) had to call of for not having complied with the memorandum of agreement pertaining to the ‘involuntary relocation’ of residents in East Bank Road Manggahan Floodway that they signed with other government agencies.

Many of the residents were again unable to go to work or school for fear of coming home to see their houses have been flattened to the ground.

At around lunch time, with the demolition team idling away the time, the MMDA personnel said they were just there to trim down some trees’ branches in the area. This, too, they did not do.

The demolition of homes along Eastbank Road Manggahan Floodway, spanning one city and two municipalities in the nearby Rizal province, could still possibly take place. The last time it was scheduled, September 26, only got cancelled due to technicalities arising from the memorandum of agreement between the government agency’s concerned with the ‘involuntary relocation’ of residents in the area from Pasig. Pending applications with the National Housing Authority for in-city relocation needed to be settled and certificates of unit allocation needed to be issued, after which the homes of those who volunteered to be relocated would be demolished.

But the LGU planned to wipe the area clean of what it considers informal settlers. The Pasig LGU reportedly wanted to use the land for a flood control project, while the residents pressed on with their demands for the land to be awarded to them again. Residents have been living in the area for as long as four decades.

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