New residents: Kadamay raises voting power of Bulacan town
PANDI, Bulacan, Philippines — Candidates in the May 13 elections have been giving this town a serious look due to 18,000 newly registered voters composed of resettled families from Metro Manila, many of them belonging to urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).
Records of the Commission on Elections office here placed Pandi’s voting population at 40,855 in 2013.
But for the 2019 polls, Pandi has 58,115 voters, up from 48,232 who registered for the 2018 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections. A total of 43,653 voters were listed in the 2016 presidential and local elections.
The increase has been attributed to the 30,000 to 50,000 people who relocated here due to the government’s resettlement program. This raised Pandi’s population from 89,075 in 2015 to 140,000 in 2019.
Included in the list of registered voters were the 8,000 Kadamay families from Metro Manila and Bulacan who forcibly took 6,000 idle houses of several social housing projects of the National Housing Authority in March 2017.
Malacañang also allowed these new settlers to apply for units meant for the government’s uniformed employees, like policemen and soldiers.
Many qualified to vote in Pandi after fulfilling the six-month residency requirement.
The new voters also included about 10,000 beneficiaries of units in the relocation project called Pandi Residence 1 in Barangay Mapulang Lupa who settled there in 2013 and 2014.
Free to choose
Some local candidates in the barangay and SK polls campaigned in the resettlement areas last year, but many more, including national candidates, have made Pandi a campaign destination in the May 13 elections.
At the proclamation rally of a mayoral candidate last week in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, candidates referred to Kadamay members and other relocated families as “the new Pandi residents.”
Kadamay has not supported any local candidate. Its members are free to choose who they would elect, according to Concepcion Opalla, Kadamay-Pandi secretary general. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE
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