Thursday, 22 Jun 2017

COMMENTS ON HOUSE BILL No. 2145


It is SALIGAN’s view that H.B. 2145 (AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8368, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “ANTI-SQUATTING LAW REPEAL ACT OF 1997”) seeks to underhandedly amend the definition of professional squatters in Republic Act No. 7279 (UDHA) and does not answer the problem of grinding urban poverty, which is the main reason that people resort to squatting in urban areas. As such, SALIGAN does not favor the enactment of said bill, to wit:

  

I SALIGAN humbly maintains that H.B. 2145 is unconstitutional for being violative of the Social Justice provision of the 1987 Constitution, and blatantly disregards the existing laws on Ejectment


H.B. 2145 forgets the Social Justice provision in the Constitution, which limits and defines a person’s right to private ownership. While seemingly an amendment of RA 8368, it is really RA 7279 that H.B. 2145 seeks to revise by trying to expand the definition of “professional squatters.” As can be seen in its wording, what the bill is trying to punish as a “professional squatter” is practically anyone who falls under the ejectment provisions of the Rules of Court.

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SALIGAN Beginning1


The Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN) was founded in November 1987 just a few months after the ratification of the Philippine Constitution. Initially, the institution was composed of two lawyers, Atty. Ferdinand Casis and Atty. Roberto Gana2, and one law student, Atty. Alberto Agra. They were still connected with the Archdiocese of Manila Labor Center (AMLC)3 when the three realized the need for a legal resource non-government organization (NGO) that would redefine the concept of legal assistance by using the law not only to uplift the masses but to empower the latter as well.



The idea was to set-up a legal NGO that would focus on sectoral rights and concerns by providing direct legal assistance to people’s organizations (POs) and other NGOs, which emerged as a result of the newly founded democracy brought about by the EDSA Revolution, towards a common societal goal of democratizing and empowering the basic sectors through legal education and paralegal formation. By November of 1987, the idea finally came into existence when SALIGAN, then known as ALAC (Alternative Legal Assistance Center), got its first funding grant from The Asia Foundation through the help of Fr. Joaquin Berns, S.J., then President of the Ateneo University and Founding Chair of the ALAC Board of Trustees.

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