MANILA, Philippines – Dozens of Kadamay members protested outside the National Housing Authority (NHA) office on Wednesday, November 22, to seek faster distribution of unoccupied houses intended for police and soldiers.
It has been 9 months since the urban poor group occupied thousands of housing units in Bulacan that have been left idle in the past years.
Kadamay claims the NHA has been slow in distributing the houses under the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Housing Project.
Last April, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would give the houses to Kadamay members and build new ones for AFP and PNP personnel.
But the NHA is still waiting for the passage of a joint resolution that would authorize the redistribution of the houses, since these were built specifically for police and soldiers under the 2013 and 2014 national budgets.
House Joint Resolution 15 was approved on 3rd and final reading in the House of Representatives and transmitted to the Senate last October 5. The Senate’s counterpart resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 8, remains pending for 2nd reading.
Once the resolution is approved by both chambers, the President’s signature will still be needed.
“While the agency says it is waiting for an enabling law, Kadamay asserts that they have been ineffective as it is within the original mandate of the NHA to act sooner rather than later. In fact, it is the obligation of government to have ensured that these homes were made use of in the first place,” said Kadamay in a statement.
The group also criticized the agency’s validation process.
“The delays have prolonged the suffering of many of the country’s poorest and underprivileged. Contrary to Duterte’s statements, officials have been conducting validation in the occupied areas of Pandi not to grant shelter but to disqualify, de-legitimize and eventually evict the occupiers,” Kadamay said.
NHA Architect Susan Nonato has said they would have to raffle off the houses if the number of claimants exceeds the available houses. (READ: Why P600-a-month housing is still a burden to the poor)
Based on the draft resolution, Kadamay members would not be the only ones eligible to receive the houses. Other government employees such as teachers and municipal and barangay employees are also potential beneficiaries.
Data from the NHA show there are at least 56,000 unused AFP-PNP houses across the country. (MAP: Where are the unoccupied housing sites for police and soldiers?) – Rappler.com
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