Urban poor women occupy idle Bulacan housing projects
Thousands of urban poor women led a movement to occupy vacant and idle housing units in several resettlement zones all over Bulacan early Wednesday in time for International Working Women’s Month.
Militant group for urban poor Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said that the move aims to assert the rights of not only women, but also the indigent to free and mass housing, which the Duterte administration has failed to do.
“The Duterte government has failed poor Filipinos. Along with HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council ) chief Evasco, they have consistently neglected the plight and calls of the poor for mass housing in pursuit of a profit-oriented neo-liberal roadmap that favors treating housing like business,” Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said in a statement.
“Mas gugustuhin pa nilang singilin ang taumbayan sa pabahay kahit na lugmok na sa kahirapan. Ngayon, ang mga mahihirap naman ang maniningil,” she added.
According to the group, almost 10,000 homes were occupied by renters, sharers and everyone without a home across relocation areas in Bulacan.
The National Housing Authority (NHA) last year reported that there are 52,341 idle houses nationwide that were meant for the personnel of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), but in this number, only 13 percent or 8,327 were occupied.
“Poor Filipinos have a right to housing, especially since it is paid for by the Filipinos including the anomalous P50 billion Informal Settler Fund. Police and military personnel don’t even want to live in relocation sites, it is too far and they can afford in city homes,” Arellano said.
She pointed out that this is visible in the huge number of vacant houses that were allotted for them, affirming that the said units “should be given freely to those without a home.”
Kadamay called on the NHA to distribute the units immediately rather than leaving them to decay. The group also urges the public to support and join what they called “Occupy Bulacan” movement, to support women and people in general to “reclaim what is rightfully theirs.”