Urban poor exec warns of more Kadamay takeovers
A former militant lawmaker who now heads a government agency dealing with the urban poor warned of a repeat of the takeover by homeless families of vacant government-built houses unless a backlog of 5.6 million housing units was filled.
Terry Ridon, former representative of the militant youth party-list group Kabataan, said the occupation by homeless families of vacant units in government housing projects should be a “wake-up call” for the government.
Many agencies were thankful that the homeless families, belonging to the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), helped put focus on the lack of housing for the poor, said Ridon, who is now chair of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
President Duterte had allowed Kadamay members to stay in the houses that they occupied in Bulacan province, which were meant for policemen, soldiers and jail personnel.
Ridon, during a Palace briefing, said having “houses without people and people without houses” was a situation that “certainly will” lead to more occupation of empty housing units by the homeless.
He said the government attitude toward lack of housing was best articulated by Mr. Duterte, who said Kadamay members who took over vacant government housing units committed no crime but were just poor.
“I think the President has been very clear about that, that their only sin has been to be poor,” said Ridon.
“So that is how the agencies will also proceed in confronting this problem also,” he said.
Ridon, however, said people should not take lightly Mr. Duterte’s warning for the homeless not to invade government housing projects again.
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