MANILA, Philippines - The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Thursday praised informal settlers and members of militant groups who engaged police and a demolition team in a violent street battle in the city of San Juan Wednesday.
In a press statement, the CPP said it "congratulates the residents for valiantly fighting back."
"Armed only with stones, bottles and molotov cocktails, they engaged the state forces in a lopsided battle to defend their homes," it added. "They exhibited great courage and determination and collectively defied plans of the Aquino government to uproot them from their homes and dump them to a so-called relocation site far away from their jobs, schools and sources of livelihood."
Violence erupted in Barangay Corazon de Jesus when the San Juan city government reclaimed the property intended for the new city hall.
Residents threw rocks, bottles and even pillboxes at a demolition team to prevent the destruction of around 300 houses along P. Narciso Street.
Authorities, meanwhile, used water cannon to stop the rioting residents.
Twenty-eight people, most of them belonging to the demolition team, police, and 2 firemen were injured during the melee.
Sixteen people were arrested following the incident.
Marco Valbuena, an official of the CPP's Information Bureau, said on Twitter Thursday that the communist movement is calling on urban poor dwellers "to rise up and gear for more demolitions."
"[They] have no choice but to organize and rise up against demolitions under the Aquino regime," he claimed.
"There are bound to be more attacks against the urban poor’s right to decent housing as the regime seeks to clear prime real estate for the use of its big business friends," the CPP said.