MANILA, Philippines – Months since they occupied government housing sites in Bulacan, at least 4,700 members of urban poor group Kadamay are set to receive houses originally intended for soldiers and policemen.
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairperson Eduardo del Rosario said the National Housing Authority (NHA) has verified and deemed qualified 90% or 4,700 of the Kadamay families in the government housing site in Pandi, Bulacan.
“From 5,200 Kadamay members, 90% qualified already. [Around] 4,700 puwedeng mabigyan na sila. Na-vet na ito na talagang poorest of the poor (can already get housing. They have been vetted to be the poorest of the poor),” Del Rosario said in a Rappler Talk interview that aired Wednesday, July 26.
The distribution of the houses is still on hold. Del Rosario said they are still waiting for Congress to pass a joint resolution that will allow them to grant the houses to beneficiaries other than members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The resolution has only passed the House committee level in May.
While the President has promised to give the houses to Kadamay, a joint resolution passed by the House and the Senate is needed to authorize it. The housing projects were funded under items in the General Appropriations Acts of 2013 and 2014, with allocations of P5.6 billion and P5.458 billion, respectively,
Once Congress passes a joint resolution, Del Rosario said the houses “will be turned over immediately” to the 4,700 families.
Backlash against Duterte
Photo from Kadamay
According to Kadamay, the number of families staying in the Bulacan homes has since reached 8,000. They also claimed that the NHA has not issued entry passes, which should have been given after validation.
Kadamay's local chapter in Bulacan also responded to the President’s warning against another occupation. The Chief Executive had threatened that they would be "clobbered" by police or worse, "shot" if they resort to violence to take over another government housing site.
Kadamay members in Pandi braved the heavy rains on Thursday, July 27, to protest what they called Duterte’s “illogical ranting.”
"Occupying idle homes is less of an anarchy than summarily killing civilians in the name of Duterte's war on illegal drugs,” Kadamay Pandi Chairperson Lea Maralit said.
"We are calling on Digong to stop his whining and scapegoating but act on the housing and labor crises that plague the urban poor sector," she stressed. (READ: Why P600-a-month housing is still a burden to the poor)
The group also hinted a plan for a national occupation of idle housing projects. But it said it is not keen on taking over the 1,000 new houses to be built for security personnel.
Citing NHA data, Kadamay said there are still over 100,000 unoccupied houses. It urged the President to distribute these homes so its members would not have to occupy them. (MAP: Where are the unoccupied housing sites for police and soldiers?) – Rappler.com