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Ex-Makati residents’ testimonies moving

12:02 AM April 28, 2015

Last April 16, senior citizens Domingo Arcilla and Edison Rivera, both belonging to the informal sector and former residents of Makati City, moved me to tears with their testimonies at the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s hearing.

Ignoring possible threats to their lives, the two gentlemen narrated how the Makati administration of then Mayor Jejomar Binay had dumped them and several other families into several trucks and transported them to a relocation site in Barangay Dayap, Calauan, Laguna. They said they were herded like hogs on their way to the slaughterhouse and provided with limited provisions of food on their way to their new place, called Makati Home Ville.

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They said that in spite of the inconvenience, they agreed to be relocated on the promise of being given their own houses with water and electricity, good roads, plus land to cultivate. But unfortunately, these promises have remained unfulfilled to this day, they said, adding that they were sinking deeper and deeper into poverty and hopelessness. They also said hunger and lack of jobs were stalking them every day, with girls as young as 14 or 16 offering their bodies for sex for as low as P100, to be able to put food on the table for their starving families.

This miserable life of the poor families in Makati Home Ville in Calauan foreshadows what might happen to the millions of members of the informal sector if Vice President Binay is elected president in 2015. Will the world of the poor be transformed into a Potemkin Village, or “an impressive façade or show designed to hide an undesirable fact or condition”? There may be frequent merrymaking and an endless supply of cakes for senior citizens courtesy of Sen. Nancy Binay. And whoever succeeds his son, Junjun Binay, as mayor of Makati, as long as she/he is a supporter of the family, may be shielded from any suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman through the generous assistance of the court.

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Moreover, on the main gate of Malacañang will be posted a warning. No, it won’t be “Abandon all hopes, all ye who enter” Dante’s hell. Instead, the warning will state: All ye who have caused my family much suffering, I will not forgive, as Makati Rep. Abigail Binay said in so many words in a recent TV interview.

As for the affairs of state, will they be “business as usual”? Those who have caused the family sleepless nights may be hunted down and given neither rest nor comfort. The subalterns, on the other hand, may be rewarded handsomely with juicy positions.

But what about the poor? Will they be kept poorer to serve as magnets for huge foreign donations?

—CARLOS ISLES,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Jejomar Binay, letters, Makati, Makati home ville, Poverty
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