Manila: There policemen and three slum dwellers were wounded in a clash that occurred during in a protest rally in suburban Quezon City, radio reports said.
Three of the 60 policemen were injured as residents of informal settlers on Agham Road in Pag-Asa (Hope) village in Quezon City, threw pill boxes (improvised weak bombs), rocks, bottles, excrement at the policemen who dismantled the barricades that were placed to create a traffic jam on nearby major roads at 7am on Monday,” Superintendent Pedro Sanchez, commander of the Quezon City Police District said in a radio interview.
The policemen were sent to check that a reported mass movement from the slum colony had spilled on the roads at the rush hour, police commander Sanchez said.
A woman, a teenaged boy and a child were also hurt when the clash began, Diamond Danao, a resident leader, said in another radio station.
The rally was held in protest of the order of local government leaders that residents should leave their homes at the slum area on June 30, said Danao.
Because several residents were arrested, the slum dwellers rushed to a nearby City Hall where they were blocked by water cannons.
There were no reports on the number of poor people who were hurt by water cannons.
Some progressive groups instigated the residents to hold a protest rally, by spreading false reports that a demolition was to take place on the slum area on Monday, said Sanchez, the police commander.
Representatives of the government-run Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also came to the scene of the clash and appeased the slum dwellers that no demolition plan was to take place.
This was done to appease the angry slum dwellers and for them to open several barricaded roads to commuters.
Clearing operation has began since last year on several notorious slum colonies near the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), to pave the way for the development of Quezon City’s first biggest business hub.
Local government leaders have succeeded in persuading slum dwellers to accept a relocation plan, including payment for relocation, in nearby suburban Bulacan and Rizal.
But more than half of those who had left have already returned due to the “unbearable conditions at the relocation sites,” said a militant group called the September 23 Movement.
“They are with us in our fight against the demolition of our homes (at the slum area),” said the group.
There is a Philippine law that also protects slum dwellers from arbitrary and unaided relocation.
Several local government leaders have been accused of abetting slum dwelling because they manipulate poor people for block voting.
Quezon City is notorious for its growing and ugly slum areas. Hordes of people from the provinces rush to urban areas because the national government has concentrated development only in Metro Manila.