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Eviction of ‘informal settlers’ from North Cemetery intensified

September 23, 2008 3:40pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila police on Tuesday intensified a saturation campaign against “informal settlers" living within the North Cemetery, a radio report said.

In an interview, Manila Police District Station 3 head Col. Romulo Sapitula said scores of illegal settlers have made the cemetery their home, and that some of them are allegedly involved in criminal activities.

"Nagkaroon na rin tayo ng — operation dahil maraming information na maraming (kriminal) na nagtatago rito (We also launched a cleanup operation because we are getting a lot of information that many criminal elements are hiding inside the illegal settlements inside the cemetery)," Sapitula said.

Aside from clearing operations, police are also conducting “rescue operations" in the cemetery area.

"May bata dito ngayon na bagong panganak. Hindi conducive sa bata na wala pang isang buwan at yung nanay na kapapanganak so ni-rescue ng ating women's desk (We found a mother and a one-month-old baby living precariously inside the cemetery and the two were rescued by our Women’s Desk," Sapitula said.

But Sapitula said the main aim of the operation is to clear the cemetery of families living on tombs, some of who have illegally built structures over the place for the dead.

Sapitula added that they have already cleared the area of a number of illegal settlers and he is expecting more once their campaign resumes on Friday.

Last month, a former policeman with a shotgun and at least 60 others were rounded up in a predawn saturation drive staged by Manila police at the North Cemetery.

Sapitula said they are now verifying the identity of the shotgun owner, who also yielded marijuana.

"Palagi itong nirereklamo na tine-terrorize ang tao rito, may shotgun siya (This ex-cop is the subject of complaints that he terrorizes the people here with his shotgun)," Sapitula said. - Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV
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