What are your opinions on Bianca’s statements about the squatters?

Bianca Gonzalez speaks out on Manila’s squatter infestation!

Was it because it was said in Tagalog or was it because popular celebrity Bianca Gonzalez (with a “z” at the end) tweeted it? Whatever the reasons are, an outrage craze was born yet again after the modeling and social media superstar let out this gem on Twitter:

“Ang dami nating nagtatrabaho para makaipon para sa prime lot at bahay plus buwis pa. Bakit nga ba bine-baby ang mga informal settlers?”


“So many people working hard to save to buy a house on prime land while paying their taxes. Why do we have to baby these informal settlers?”

It is the traditional concept. The simple principle behind Bianca’s tweet is rule of law and everyone — whether rich or poor — are subject to it. Quite simply, squatters live on land funded by the hard work of somebody else and put a strain on public works and services funded by somebody else’s tax money. This being the Philippines which aspires to be a First World nanny state (despite lacking the cash to achieve that unusual aspiration), relevant laws to fight for squatter infestation have been reduced to toothless drivel since the fall of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Presidential Decree 772 (PD 772) effected by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1975 made prosecuting “squatting and other criminal acts” relatively easy. Squatting under PD 772 was clearly a criminal undertaking as Section 1 of the decree states.

Any person who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying or possessing the property of the latter against his will for residential commercial or any other purposes, shall be punished by an imprisonment ranging from six months to one year or a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand pesos at the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

And so, under Marcos’s administration, thousands of squatters were successfully evicted from land they illegally inhabited and jailed for their offense.

Unfortunately PD 772 was repealed when Republic Act No. 8368, the “Anti-Squatting Law Repeal Act of 1997″ took effect. RA 8368 also authorized dismissal of all pending cases that drew upon the provisions of the now repealed PD 772. It also directed criminal cases against squatters to defer to the broader “Comprehensive and Continuing Urban Development Program” described by Republic Act 7279, which stipulated sanctions that are applicable only to “professional squatters” which are defined to be individuals or groups who occupy lands without the express consent of the landowner and who have sufficient income for legitimate housing. The term shall also apply to persons who have previously been awarded homelots or housing units by the Government but who sold, leased or transferred the same to settle illegally in the same place or in another urban area, and non-bonafide occupants and intruders of lands reserved for socialized housing.

RA 7279 however explicitly excludes from the definition “individuals or groups who simply rent land and housing from professional squatters or squatting syndicates.” These laws, in effect, make the process of removing squatters from one’s property a long and convoluted one.

Manila is now a pigsty of our country, having so many informal settlers living here. Squatters always deposit their household sewage into our rivers making it a flowing dumping sites in the metro. The illegal structures they erect which is one of the causes of flooding in the wrenched capital of our country. Add to that to all the other illegally-erected structures of businesses backed by local politicians, such as the fish pens that proliferate all over Laguna de Bay. The aroma of raw sewage that engulfs the country’s premier metropolis is unmistakable during the wet season and during the dry season, the thought of open sewers and where the thick ubiquitous clouds of dust that hang over the city 24 hours a day comes from is enough to discourage anyone from eating ice cream on a cone outdoors.

WELL, HERE’S MY TAKE. While Bianca’s tweet may appear somewhat insensible and harsh, I do see her point. Bianca is an intelligent woman. I’m on her side. Bianca has very good point of view. Kudos to her. Bakit nga naman kasi ang daming mga promdi na gustong-gusto makipagsiksikan sa syudad (the main root of squatting in the first place)? Maling konsepto nila na kapag nasa syudad ka, yayaman ka. Ang hindi nila alam nasa paligid lang nila ang opurtunidad. Mayaman ang lupa, mura ang mga bilihin at higit sa lahat malayo sa ingay at pulusyon ng syudad. In effect dumaragdag lang sila sa pasanin ng gobyerno, and then sisisihin ang gobyerno sa huli dahil inanod ng baha ang mga barong-barong nila where in fact inabisuhan na sila na lumikas etc.. Binibigyan niyo lang ng opurtunidad yung mga lokong pulitiko na maghari-harian sa bansa kesa mag-provide ng opurtunidad sa mga sarili nila. Where’s the logic in that? Kung tutuusin mainam na yang relocation, at least may disente silang tahanan, na at least hindi sila makakaabala sa mga waterways. Ang mahirap lang dito ay ang daming choosy na informal settlers. Kesho malayo daw sa inag ta-trabahuhan, sa eskwela at kung ano ano pang dahilan. Edi kung ayaw nila edi huwag na silang pilitin pa. Our government already did something for their safety and for the betterment of their lives kaso sisisihin at sisisihin pa rin nila ang gobyerno. THE HECK! Pwede rin naman silang bumalik sa mga probinsya nila dahil sa bigay na ayudang pera. Minsan nasa tao lang din yan, if he/she is willing to embrace change thru his/her effort. Kung di siya kikilos, hanggang squatter na lang siya na paulit-ulit pinalalayas na parang mga pesteng surot. It doesn’t mean pinanganak kang squatter eh habangbuhay kang magiging squatter. Dapat magsumikap pa rin. Well, I just wish that we can have another President Marcos… Sa sobrang demokrasya kasi, nawala na ang disiplina.

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