MANILA – Urban poor families are receiving “fair and unbiased” treatment from the government, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) said Friday.

The PCUP's statement came in response to reports that it is favoring “professional squatters” who purportedly illegally occupied a private property in Tanay, Rizal.

PCUP chairperson Undersecretary Elpidio Jordan Jr. refuted the claims of columnists Irwin Corpuz (Police Files Tonight) and Lea Botones (Remate Online) that the commission is siding with the “illegal occupants” in Madilay-dilay village in Tanay, Rizal.

Jordan denied that the informal settlers were getting preferential treatment from the PCUP and the local government unit (LGU) of Tanay.

“The PCUP would like the public to know that it has complied with all the necessary measures to provide fair and unbiased assistance to its clientele,” Jordan said, adding that the affected families in Tanay, Rizal were assessed and classified as “underprivileged and homeless citizens” and “not professional squatters.”

Contrary to reports, the PCUP supports the Marcos administration’s bid to eradicate red tape and corruption in government, Jordan said, stressing that the commission’s programs, projects, and services are aligned with the national government’s objective and goal.

Jordan said the implementation of the writ of demolition for a civil case affecting around 60 families was derailed because of the Tanay LGUs’ “non-compliance” to provide the assistance mandated under Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) or Republic Act 7279.

“A Pre-Demolition Conference (PDC) for this case was conducted by the PCUP on September 30, 2022. However, such PDC was terminated on October 28, 2022 due to the non-compliance of the LGU of Tanay, Rizal to provide the mandatory assistance stated under Section 28 of RA 7279 of UDHA,” he said.

The PCUP, nevertheless, formally transmitted the civil case and the PDC report to the Philippine National Police Regional Office 4-A on Nov. 14, 2022 “for information and guidance,” Jordan said.

“The Non-Availability of Relocation and/or Financial Assistance certification from LGU Tanay was also provided in the report,” Jordan said.

“The Commission operates with impartiality and ensures that all its interests are achieved within the framework of the Philippine Constitution,” he added.

Jordan also ensured that the PCUP will continue assisting the urban poor by conducting its services “in good faith.”

“It thrives on serving the public through its mandate to directly link the urban poor to the government with its programs and services,” he said.

Urban Poor Solidarity Week preps

Meantime, Jordan said PCUP is ready to lead the celebration of the Urban Poor Solidarity Week (UPSW), which is annually observed from Dec. 2 to 8.

Jordan said this year’s UPSW celebration is a testament to the government’s strong relations with the country’s urban poor, noting that several agreements will be signed between the PCUP and its partner agencies to provide better assistance to indigent households.

“Participants of the celebration could reach in the thousands as the event will be celebrated simultaneously in the National Capital Region, Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao,” Jordan said.

During the week-long event, the PCUP is expected to launch its four banner anti-poor programs that will be implemented in 2023. The commission will also give recognition to urban poor organizations (UPOs) and its LGU partners.

This year’s UPSW carries the theme, “Ika-36 na taon ng Pinag-ibayong Serbisyo tungo sa Pagbangon ng Maralitang Pilipino: Pusong PBBM, Pusong Pilipino.” (PNA)