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Duterte: No relocation, no demolition

Demolition of houses will no longer be allowed until affected families are given proper relocation upon the orders of President Duterte.

The President has announced the government’s “no relocation, no demolition” policy last Sunday night, saying they should not be treated like dogs and instead be given “suitable” shelter.

“During my time, there will be no demolition pag walang relocation,” the President said during a fellowship dinner with San Beda classes of 1971 and 1972 in Malacañang last Sunday.

“Hindi ako papayag kasi ‘yung walang mapuntahan, sirain mo ang bahay parang aso. E saan pupunta ‘yung mga tao? Where will they find another shelter?” he added in the video posted by the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) on Monday.

Duterte said he would be “very generous” to the displaced families, adding he would “look for money” for proper resettlement with access to livelihood. “We will go for a suitable relocation,” he said.

Duterte also affirmed that the government’s priority is to improve the economic conditions of Filipinos especially the poor. “We have to build new industries. We have to create an activity, economics, or otherwise para may pupuntahan sila. Ayan ang priority ko. And I need a lot of money,” he said.

Duterte first disclosed his planned “no relocation, no demolition policy” shortly after his victory in the May presidential elections. He said such policy could prevent bloody confrontations between affected residents and members of demolition teams.

During the same occasion, Duterte threatened to cancel the permits of mining companies if the have been remiss in their reforestation commitments.

Making an example of his tough campaign against irresponsible miners, Duterte identified the Gutierrez-owned mining company for skirting the country’s laws and causing environmental damage in Agusan del Norte.

“Marami dito: Gutierrez, (you) cannot only destroy Tubay in Agusan del Norte,” the President said.

“You’re supposed to plant trees. Ngayon, pag wala akong makita na kahoy tumutubo dyan, I’ll cancel your paper. Kung multinational ka… Wala,” he added.

Duterte was apparently referring to the San Roque Metals Inc (SRMI), reportedly owned by Miguel Alberto Gutierrez and Eric Gutierrez, which has been implicated in controversial nickel mines in the coastal town of Tubay, Agusan del Norte. (GENALYN D. KABILING)