Homeless take over gov’t housing projects in Bulacan
CITY OF MALOLOS—Families from Metro Manila and parts of Bulacan province have occupied 4,000 houses in five government housing projects in Pandi town and the City of San Jose del Monte, but the provincial government has not ordered them to leave pending a dialog today.
About 5,000 people, including members of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), took over vacant houses
meant for displaced informal settlers from Metro Manila on Wednesday, claiming they were “tired of being neglected by the government.”
They occupied the houses at Villa Elise settlement in Barangay Masuso, Pandi Village 2 housing project in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, Villa Louise project in Barangay Cacarong Matanda and Padre Pio project in Barangay Cacarong Bata, all in Pandi, said Elizabeth Joseph, Bulacan project manager of the National Housing Authority (NHA) which oversees the resettlement sites.
Villa Elise was developed for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
Families also occupied the houses at San Jose Heights in the City of San Jose del Monte.
Policemen had been deployed to secure these areas but had not been ordered to clear the houses.
Joseph said she had been instructed by the NHA head office to talk to the settlers.
Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado met with Joseph and the police to discuss how to resolve the crisis. He said the provincial government has a program for informal settlers but it must prioritize those living in Bulacan.
He said the provincial government intended to inspect the Pandi resettlement projects on Wednesday after urban poor families asked for its help.
Those who occupied the houses were not listed as beneficiaries of the NHA housing projects, said Felicisimo Lazarte, former NHA North and Central Luzon manager.
He said the beneficiaries were informal settlers who were removed from creeks in Metro Manila.
During the meeting, Joseph said many of the families who occupied the houses came from Taguig, Navotas and Malabon cities.
Elizabeth Aguirre, Kadamay president, said they occupied the houses because NHA personnel refused to provide them “decent homes.”
“In so many occasions, we held dialogs with them. We wanted homes for our families. We were willing to pay [for government housing which] we could afford, yet, we were always told that there were no vacant houses. But based on our inspection, all these houses were unoccupied,” she said.