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Bayan: Occupation of Bulacan house units organized, not an anarchy

/ 02:59 PM March 14, 2017
Housing units at the Padre Pio de Pandi Resettlement Project, Barangay Cacarong Bata, Pandi, Bulacan. —LYN RILLON

Housing units at the Padre Pio de Pandi Resettlement Project, Barangay Cacarong Bata, Pandi, Bulacan. LYN RILLON/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Tuesday told President Rodrigo Duterte that the occupation of government housing units in Bulacan was not anarchy, following Duterte’s statement saying otherwise.

“The occupation seeks government recognition of the rights of the poor and the awarding of housing units to the families that joined the protests. The occupation was done in an organized and deliberate manner, far from the picture of anarchy that the President wants to depict,” Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes said in a statement.

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Duterte on Monday warned the Kadamay group, who led the movement and illegal occupants of government housing units in Bulacan, that they must follow the law or he would be forced to issue an eviction. He also said that the urban poor families should have talked with the government if they want homes.

“Let’s settle it through a dialogue. Don’t do it that way because that’s anarchy… Do not do that because that would make it appear that the government is inutile,” he said.

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READ: Duterte warns illegal occupants of gov’t housing units in Bulacan

Reyes said that the occupation is a “glaring proof” that the government’s housing program is a failure.

“President Duterte must start from a recognition of this reality, rather than invoke failed bureaucratic processes in the guise of upholding ‘the rule of law’” Reyes said.

“Rather than justify the current flawed system, government must re-examine the system that has allowed thousands of housing units to be unoccupied, while thousands of poor families are without housing,” he added.

READ: ‘Gov’t failure prompted occupation of Bulacan housing projects’

Reyes cited that similar occupy movements have been done by poor people in Latin America, United States and Europe, as a legitimate form of resistance “against oppression and a means of advancing the interests of the marginalized.”

He said that the idle housing units can be immediately awarded to the Kadamay protesters and the relocatees from other areas who were earlier assigned to the said units can await the construction of new housing. Demolitions should not push through, he added.

Reyes reminded that the government “should not pit the poor against each other” and said that Duterte should show compassion, instead of threatening the poor with eviction.

“Any violent eviction of protesters would be politically costly for a regime that has already been accused of targeting the poor in its drug war,” he said. RAM/rga

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TAGS: Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan, Bulacan, Kadamay, President Rodrigo Duterte
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