No talks with settlers as NHA barred from housing sites
CITY OF MALOLOS—A team from the National Housing Authority (NHA) on Thursday was barred from entering one of six low-cost housing projects occupied last week by families from Bulacan province, some of whom originally came from Metro Manila.
The resistance from the families forced the NHA to cancel a scheduled dialog at the Pandi Heights 2 and 3 housing projects in Pandi town.
At Pandi Heights 2, about 500 families, most of them belonging to the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), barricaded the gates to stop the NHA team, according to security guards there.
Kadamay said about 5,000 people had occupied the idle units in six housing projects in Pandi and the City of San Jose del Monte since last week.
About a thousand of them have since left the sites.
Gloria Arellano, Kadamay president, said they did not allow the dialog because it would give NHA the opportunity to select families as social housing beneficiaries.
“What everyone here wants is free housing and that is what Kadamay asserts. The government has neglected the poor for so long. It is time for the poor to demand housing,” Arellano said.
But on Wednesday, the NHA team processed 160 housing applications from families who forcibly occupied the idle units at Villa Elise social housing project in Barangay Masuso in Pandi, said Chief Insp. Manuel de Vera Jr., town police chief.
The team also tried but failed to talk with families who occupied the houses in Padre Pio, Villa Louise and Pandi Heights 2 and 3, all in Pandi.
On Saturday, members of the militant groups Bayan and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) will go to Bulacan to show support for the settlers.
In a statement, Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general, said the families occupied homes that have been empty for years due to government inaction.
“It would be best if the poor used these houses instead of allowing [these] to rot,” he said. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE
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