Thu, May 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Daguan residents rally over homes at DPP headquarters

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Residents of New Taipei City’s Daguan (大觀) community rallied outside Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters yesterday, calling for the DPP to rein in Veteran Affairs Council moves to tear down their homes.

More than 20 members of a self-help association for the Banqiao District (板橋) community and students protested outside the party’s headquarters in Taipei, pushing against police and pasting paper to the entrance, demanding that the DPP avert a planned demolition next month.

“Not one of the DPP’s promised public housing units have yet to be constructed, but it is moving to uproot people from their homes,” student protester Chen Kuan-po (陳冠博) said, adding that the council sought to evict residents in a lawsuit that did not acknowledging the site’s “historical context.”

The 72 households sued by the government had inherited or purchased homes built decades ago on government-owned land, according to a contract with the National Women’s League, which was responsible for the nearby military dependents’ village, Chen said, adding that the residents’ lack formal land or property rights.

“The government could choose to use other measures, such as allowing residents to purchase the land,” he said.

Chen said the Veteran Affairs Council had offered to consider selling the land to residents, but later changed its stance.

“The government approved electricity, water and postal addresses for our homes, so why has it suddenly turned around and declared them illegal decades later,” said resident Yang Chia-mei (楊家梅), the widow of one of the community’s original military veterans.

Resident Lee Miao-jung (李眇蓉) said that she had rebuilt her home with permission from the local district administration office after it was torn down to make way for a road-widening project.

She had also paid housing taxes for years, Lee said.

“At the time, many people were not clear about the details of the law and did not know that they had no property rights over unregistered homes, while the government quietly left them completely undisturbed for more than 50 years,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights housing specialist Lin Yen-tung (林彥彤) said.

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