The place where I grew up does not belong to us, neither do the other families there. It belongs to my late Uncle Kalbo (Tiya’s husband). I do not know the exact story to how and why families were there. But one thing’s for sure, we were INFORMAL SETTLERS.
We weren’t paying rent. But our parents made us aware that we may get evicted anytime. So they worked really hard and we studied well, in return. My parents taught us to be frugal, and be content to whatever we have so they can save enough.
In 1994, we were advised by the lot owners that we have to leave the place because they want it developed. Unlike the other families, I did not see my parents worry. In less than a year, they finally closed a deal with a broker of a simple subdivision in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
Before we moved in in 1995, I can proudly say that my parents were able to pay the house and lot in full, cash! They even showed us the lot title named after mama. We were so happy that finally, after 10 years of marriage, with 3 growing kids (our youngest was born in 1992), we’ll have a house we can call our own. We will no longer worry that one day, we’ll be evicted. We’ll have our own restroom (since we grew up with a commin restroom for 3 families before), have a bedroom of our own (instead of sleeping on our sala), a small terrace, a private laundry area and a more peaceful and conducive learning environment.
After we left, the other families started moving out, too. And after a year of not seeing my bestfriend everyday (compared before) they also moved out of QC, and settled in a subdivision in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, too! Yahooo! 🙂
Unlike what we see on the news these past few days, we weren’t a victim of a harsh and bloody demolition. We were formally informed by the lot owners of their plan and were given ample time.
I just hope same thing happens to the other informal settlers. I hope that there’s no need to shed blood and life.
During my NORTHRAIL days, the ROWA Team (Right of Way Acquisition) let me join them during demolition days on informal settlers. There were no blood, no shouting, no battle. Why? Because the settlers were given a just and fair resettlement area in Pampanga and in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. Hindi lang siya basta basta bliss o housing (gaya nu’ng project ni Erap na MRH o medium rise housing). Isang subdivision ang ginawa ng NR for them. Homeowners na ang tawag sa kanila. Nakakadagdag naman talaga ng morale and dignity. Atty. ZLA (the previous P/COO) even asked us, his staff to do charitable works during Christmas season and coordinated with the former DOTC Secretary, now a town mayor (I think), Ed Pamintuan to have a concrete and continuous livelihood program for the NORTHVILLE homeowners. O eh di masaya, di ba? 🙂
I hope that every informal settlers be given the support and help thy need and deserve from the government.