Kadamay members still finding ways to uplift lives, 2 years after Pandi occupation
MANILA, Philippines – More than two years after urban poor group Kadamay occupied empty housing projects in Pandi, Bulacan, its members are still in the streets and accusing the government, specifically the National Housing Authority (NHA) of luring their ranks to socialized housing grants in exchange for leaving the group.
“Alam namin ‘yon kasi ang ginagawa ng NHA, kinakausap ang mga lider at winawasak kami. Sasabihin ‘i-aaward na namin sa inyo, umalis lang kayo sa Kadamay,” Kadamay chairperson Bea Arellano told INQUIRER.net during their protest before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“Sinisiraan na nga kami, may mga polyetong ibinibigay. Kami raw ay ganito, mga NPA (New People’s Army),” she said.
In 2017, Kadamay members occupied empty housing projects for members of the military and police in Pandi, Bulacan and in Rodriguez, Rizal. There were around 5,000 houses seized by the group in Pandi, which Kadamay said is occupied by around three to four families.
Most of the houses still do not have access to electrical or water services, Arellano said.
“Ang meron sa Pandi, mga 5,000 plus. Ipagpalagay mo na lang na times three or times four (bawat bahay),” she explained.
“Three years na ang Pangulong Duterte na hanggang ngayon ay hindi inaayos para ibigay na ang pabahay,” she lamented.
According to Arellano, there were instances in other housing projects targeted by Kadamay, like in Negros island, where NHA would insist that land rights have already been transferred to its rightful owners. However, when pressed for titles, NHA supposedly would not show any proof.
Duterte has allowed the group to occupy the housing projects, but only out of fear that confrontation might occur once he instructs law enforcers to forcefully evict them.
Last October 2018, Duterte threatened to shoot the group’s members if they don’t vacate the houses.
Arellano on the other hand asked why government would not give these lands to the poor, instead of trying to go after their group.
“Bakit ang gobyernong ito, sa halip na mapanatag na lang sa kasiguraduhan, ay hindi niya giangawa? Alam natin na gustong buwagin ang ating samahan, kasi magkakasabwat ang mga sundalo at PNP,” she said.
“Binibigay pa rin sa mga militar para pagkakitaan, paupahan o kaya ibenta,” she added. /muf