Chester Arcilla, Why Do You Hurt Us? Care Work against Gentrification Violences

Protesting child © Chester Arcilla
The street as bedroom © Chester Arcilla

Witnessing the violence of forced evictions and demolitions, a child clasps a megaphone asking government “Why do you hurt us?”. Gentrification destroys poor peoples’ homes, and politicizes the poor. In 2014, the Philippine government destroyed some 300 homes of the slum community I was working with that was struggling for on-site slum upgrading. The evicted were forced to live on the street for almost two weeks. The slum clearing was to make way for a Central Business District that excludes the poor and displaces them to off-city resettlements where livelihood and social services are inaccessible. My work centers on helping the poor struggle for their right to the city and on marking the home-unmaking accompanying neoliberal urbanization in the South. The deprivation of home—a place where families care and create habitation, histories and futures—is increasingly becoming one of the most serious dispossessions of contemporary capitalist development.

Dr. Chester Arcilla teaches economics, sociology and development studies at the University of the Philippines-Manila. His work and advocacy focuses on the right to adequate housing and the right to the city.