Kadamay members leave gov’t housing site in Bacolod
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Around 1,500 informal settlers left a government housing site in Barangay Felisa here Friday, August 31, a day after they camped out in the area to demand the turnover of the units intended for soldiers and cops.
The families, led by urban poor Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), left the site after another dialogue with Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and other local officials; officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Corrections; and Father Chris Gonzales, Social Action Center head of the Bacolod Diocese.
The group wanted to take over the housing units on Thursday, August 30, as these had been unoccupied for years, and set up makeshift tents outside the houses. They cited the resolution signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May that authorizes the NHA to reallocate unoccupied housing units awarded to policemen, soldiers, firemen, and jail personnel, to other qualified beneficiaries.
NHA Architect Susana Nonato, head of the project implementation team of AFP-PNP housing site, explained that the houses remained unoccupied as there were no water and power facilities yet.
Nonato said they were already coordinating with the service providers so that the intended beneficiaries could start moving in.
She said policemen, soldiers, firemen, and jail personnel own the 1,498 units in the site and have started paying the P200-monthly amortization, payable in 25 years.
Last year, Kadamay members successfully occupied the idle houses for cops and soldiers in Pandi, Bulacan. This paved the way for the joint congressional resolution approved by Duterte on the issue of unoccupied government housing units.
Nonato said the attempted takeover of a government housing site should not happen again.
“It’s anarchy. If they really want to avail of the housing project, they should have an endorsement from the local government unit or the city mayor," she said.
She explained that informal settlers who want to avail of the government’s housing program should submit their names to their local government for cosideration.
Nonato stressed that the housing units cannot just be immediately awarded to someone other than the intended beneficiaries.
The NHA eventually gave the group an ultimatum to the vacate the area.
While the Kadamay members peacefully complied, they think the agency failed to come up with a win-win solution to address their concern.
There will be another dialogue on September 7. – Rappler.com
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