A friend of mine, Prudence, has this to say about eight people hurt in a demolition site at Quezon City:
It is silliness to remain thinking these people are the “helpless and innocent” ones. Just think, there were 20 improvised explosives, besides the pillboxes, that were found in these shanties during the demolition. Think of what these people are capable of. If only it were directed to a more productive way, these people could be contributing citizens of the society. But they choose not to.
I repeat, they have a CHOICE. Poverty is no excuse. There were a lot of those who have been poor but were able to rise above it, through honest means.
In many respects, yes, when people start throwing pillboxes at police officials and resort to violence to defend “their property,” it is wrong. Then again, demolition – with the presence of authority figures who are anything but prudent and just in the exercise of their duties – is itself a form of violence, so it gets eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth really fast. Of course it’s not compassionate for police officers to violently disperse people who are there fighting for their right to abode, but it is not just for people to merely occupy a space for their own without thinking of the right of the property owner for that land, too.
I think that as long as we look at things in the black-and-white of who’s right and who’s wrong, we’ll always have a problem with informal settlers. We’ll be stuck in that cycle of settlers occupying land, and authorities taking people out of that land.