MANILA, Philippines — A survey conducted by Sosyal Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 94% of informal settlers currently living in and around Metro Manila have, in actuality, childhood years filled with luxury and comfort, before taking that huge leap into becoming what they are today.
Out of the 76,000 respondents, 94% or 71,440 families felt entitled to be given free housing, as well as living allowance and transportation allowance that they sorely missed during their childhood years when life felt like it was running on butter.
“Gone are the days when we could just cry and scream our heads off to get what we want,” said Rogelio Dimagiba in fluent English. “Now we have to use rocks, glass shards and molotov cocktails to get our message across!”
Pepe Lapiw, another informal settler, wants the government’s assurance that their relocation sites have access to cable TV.
“What I’m scared off is the reality that when we do agree to be relocated, I will no longer be able to watch my favorite shows on C-Span, BBC and History Channel,” he said. “Baka pagsisihan ko pa.”
“And don’t forget Disney Channel and Nick Jr. for our kids!” added his wife, Penelope.
Neighbors of Pepe and Penelope are also complaining as to why they must be arrested when they throw rocks and other dangerous debris carelessly at authorities causing injuries in the process.
“It is our way of expressing our sentiments, why must we be arrested for this?!” said a squatter who covered up his face while expressing his sentiments.
In an interview, Tektek Espatio, a resident of Agham Road, said that they believed that when they moved-in, the land was public: “Matagal na kami dito sa lugar na ito. Ang alam namin dito, nang tumira kami ay public itong lugar na ito.“
She went on to enumerate other things that she believed in, namely:
- If a person illegally settles on a land for a very long time, they are entitled to the said land already. First dibs rule applies.
- Informal settlers are free to illegally tap the water lines for their consumption.
- Same goes for electricity.
- During demolition protests, they are entitled to hurt the authorities trying to uphold peace and order because the police have no human rights. Only them.
- However illegal their stay is on a specified land, it is inhumane to relocate them to a legally specified location that has much better living conditions than the one they are being driven away from.
- The government must provide everything for them, namely: housing, livelihood, education, pocket money, living room showcase, bedroom showcase, possibly a car, wardrobe showcase, full cosmetic makeover from Belo Medical and a jacket. Everything but the kitchen sink; because they said so.
- That a 30-day deadline should be ignored and their right to set up barricades on busy a thoroughfare on the day after the deadline is justified.
“We have lived such luxurious lives during our childhood in the province, where our elders gave us everything that we want,” said Espatio. “We decided to move to the city and live in such poor state, I think the government owes us whatever it is that we demand!”
The government is currently looking for relocation sites that would be up-to par with the high standard of living for these silver-spoon-fed spoiled brats that are humanely called as informal settlers or as Google calls them, squatters.