After long years of dialog and marches, the University of the Philippines, the Quezon City local government and the people have come to an agreement on what to do with the 19,000 urban poor families living illegally on the campus. It is a classic victory
In the beginning the university said it had no land to give the urban poor and they were not the university’s problem. In the beginning the mayor said it was the university’s problem. Also the people were badly divided by areas, ideology and relationships to the university. The community organizers organized rallies in the university but they had no immediate effect. They then rallied to the mayor and influenced him–it is an election year–to persuade the university to take care of the poor because he was not going to evict them. The mayor did so. The mayor and the university agreed that an initial Memorandum of Agreement be drawn up by the city, the university architect and by the architects of the NGO TAO and the organizers of the Urban Poor Associates. This is the document to be signed May 11.
Catholic priests were active. They marched, for example, with their people to the mayor’s office. Their presence helped win the mayor’s cooperation.
Source: Urban Poor Associates. Denis Murphy.