MANILA – The pre-trial hearing of political prisoners Wilma and Benito Tiamzon was deferred today, Oct. 21, as the Quezon City Hall of Justice suspended work for the day at around 8:30 a.m., prompted by a protest of more than 1,000 peasants outside the court.
Collective action by the residents of Sitio San Roque, Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in North Triangle, Quezon City successfully prevented the attempt of National Housing Authority (NHA) personnel to demolish their homes for the implementation of the QC-CBD project.
The residents began setting up barricades as early as September 22. They lighted candles outside their houses, with some of them holding a vigil to prevent the police and NHA demolition teams from entering the area. Others fortified their homes. Mass meetings and discussions were held to explain the importance of defending the livelihood of the poor and resist the demolition.
The residents massed up the following day to stop the demolition, getting out of their homes and barricading the streets. The mass action swelled up to Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), where the people linked arms and put up obstacles to block the police.
Violence erupted when the demolition teams forced their way in and destroyed some houses. Some policemen threatened residents with their guns. Those manning the barricades were hosed down with water. Seven residents were injured and two were arrested. The people resorted to throwing stones at the NHA personnel to stop the destruction of their houses.
At around 3:00 in the afternoon, the Regional Trial Court Branch 226 issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the demolition. Even Benigno Aquino III who was then in the US was compelled to order the NHA to temporarily stop the demolition. The poor residents have vowed to remain on guard and block any attempt to demolish their homes.