Urban poor hits martial law extension in Mindanao

By Rhodina Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines — The urban poor sector hit the government for extending martial law in Mindanao for one year.

The militant Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said the extension of martial law in Mindanao is a means to crush opposition to the planned disenfranchisement of thousands of informal settlers in Marawi City as well as to resistance to demolitions against urban poor communities all over Mindanao.

Kadamay national president Gloria Arellano said the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi is an opportunity for the government to get rid of its thousands of informal settlers without having to provide even the minimum housing and financial assistance mandated by law.

“By simply barring them from going back to the sites of their old homes, these lands will be opened up to the ‘hordes of corporations’ looking for cheap properties,” Arellano said.

Arellano added that outside Marawi, martial law will also be used against the urban poor in other cities across Mindanao.

Arellano said Surigao, Butuan and Malaybalay in Bukidnon will follow the lead of Davao City as “a killing field” of the urban poor.

She said Kadamay would not take the extension of martial law sitting down, vowing that its thousands of members nationwide would campaign for the redistribution of idle housing units to the homeless and also for the ouster of President Duterte, whom the group branded as the number one enemy of the urban poor.

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