People Power saves Krus na Ligas from Epals #epalwatch

The National Historical Institute issued an order to stop the construction of the expansion of the Krus na Ligas Barangay Hall named as Belmonte Hall, a priority project of Councilor Vincent Belmonte.

The No More EPAL Movement and Dakila joined the Krus Na Ligas Community in UP Diliman, Quezon City, yesterday, October 28, at the Krus na Ligas Covered Court in their protest assembly against the intent of their Barangay Captain Julian Santos to construct a building right on Plaza Sta. Ines in front of their parish church.

The public action was initiated by the Krus Na Ligas community headed by its parish priest Rev. Fr. Ron Roberto and supported by the Krus na Ligas High School Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), and SK Councilor Mark Carlo Francisco. Juana Change (Mae Paner), dressed as the ghost of a katipunera and historian Xiao Chua also addressed the crowd.

Lola Kika, a descendant of Katipunero Isabelo Tuazon and one of the oldest resident of the community delivered in a passionate speech, “Sa Plaza Ines tayo nagtaguan, nagtumbang preso, dito natin binuo ang ating mga pangarap at kasaysayan. Para sa pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit sa Krus na Ligas at mamamayan nito, Handa akong mamatay!”

The construction plan, backed by Quezon City Councilor Vince Belmonte, is being pushed down the throats of the Krus na Ligas residents, who value their plaza as the only public space available in their barangay.

According to historian Xiao Chua, “Ang Plaza ng Krus na Ligas ang dangal ng komunidad dahil nagging tagpuan ito ng Katipunan at pook ng pag-uusapan at pamumuhay ng maraming henerasyon.”

The Barangay Chairman intended to push through with this completely unpopular plan despite:

  • The significance of the plaza and church to the history of nation-building—not only to local history;
  • The congested character of the Barangay, which makes the plaza their irreplaceable, non-negotiable common open space;
  • The clear public rejection of impunity on the part of the Barangay leader;
  • The obvious lack of merit of a construction project in a barangay that already has an under-utilized barangay hall;
  • The shadow of doubt hovering over the Barangay Chairman, who owns a construction company—a company, moreover, that has accepted part of a barangay construction project, in clear dismissal of conflict of interest considerations; and
  • The community’s arguments against this exercise of impunity by their local leader.

Kate Lim of DAKILA and the NO MORE EPAL MOVEMENT in a statement said, “ This fight of the Krus na Ligas community against their local leader, is a clear example of trapo leadership. It is a leadership that cares little for their own constituency’s interests and aspirations. “

“The Barangay Chairman of Krus na Ligas, and his enabler Councilor Vince Belmonte, demonstrate in their deafness of the calls of this Quezon City community, their idea that leaders can do anything they please. They think they are entitled to autocratic powers. They think their ideas and actions are above public debate.” Lim added.

Betty Romero of the NO MORE EPAL MOVEMENT added, “This kind of impunity is of the same wicked spirit as using public funds to plaster their mugs and names all over public space. Constructing a 2 story building on a plaza built in a place that the National Historical Institute has marked as the site where Andres Bonifacion and his Katipunan cohorts would retreat from Balintawak—this desecration of a space held in the heart of nationalists, among them, the Krus na Ligas residents—this spits on community honor and right to well-being.”

Around 500 residents of Krus na Ligas joined the mass action yesterday aimed to demonstrate people power to stop the construction of the expansion of the Barangay Hall. The mass action ended with the community singing of the Krus na Ligas hymn.