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CAMPAIGN TO OCCUPY VACANT HOUSES

Settlers target more gov’t housing sites, move to Rizal

/ 12:20 AM March 22, 2017
Some of the settlers feel at home in one of the housing units they occupied in a government project in Pandi, Bulacan province.

Some of the settlers feel at home in one of the housing units they occupied in a government project in Pandi, Bulacan province.

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—After the occupation of six low-cost housing projects in Bulacan, attempts to occupy houses by urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in two sites in Rodriguez town, Rizal province, were foiled by police and National Housing Authority (NHA) personnel.

Kadamay members on three jeepneys tried to occupy vacant houses in La Solidaridad Estates 1 and 2 in Barangay San Isidro in Rodriguez on Sunday but they were stopped by security guards, according to a staffer of Baque Corp., the project developer.

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At 4 a.m. on Tuesday, at least 500 Kadamay members tried to reenter the La Solidaridad premises, barricading a road leading to Eastwood Side subdivision, also in Rodriguez.

But policemen and soldiers, aided by NHA personnel, have secured the project sites.

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Rizal province is near the southern boundary of Bulacan.

Baque Corp. said the La Solidaridad houses were for soldiers, policemen and firemen. More than 500 families live in the estates, which have a total of 2,000 houses. At least 243 firemen moved there in April 2015.

Also on Tuesday in Bustos town, Bulacan, police deployed teams to secure a NHA site in Barangay Bonga Mayor which was also developed for soldiers, policemen and firemen.

They acted on reports that the site had been targeted for occupation by Kadamay members.

Chief Insp. Victor Bernabe, Bustos police chief, said the teams would be aided by policemen from the Provincial Public Safety Center of the Bulacan police.

Bernabe said they were securing 877 vacant houses, some of these without doors, windows and other facilities.

The other NHA site in Barangay Catacte in Bustos has been occupied by former informal settlers.

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Since Monday, the NHA had been posting eviction notices on houses forcibly taken by families in Pandi town, also in Bulacan.

In its website, the NHA said the families have taken over 5,262 houses since March 8.

The housing agency issued notices to families occupying 324 houses in Villa Elise in Barangay Masusi and 440 houses in Pandi Heights 1 in Barangay Cacarong Matanda, both in Pandi.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) defended the Kadamay members.

Lawyer Ephraim Cortez, NUPL secretary general, said the right to adequate housing is “universally recognized.”

NUPL urged an investigation of alleged “corruption and criminal negligence” in NHA that led to the waste of billions of pesos in public funds on abandoned housing units. —TONETTE OREJAS AND CARMELA REYES ESTROPE

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TAGS: gov’t housing sites, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), La Solidaridad Estates 1 and 2, low-cost housing projects in Bulacan, National Housing Authority (NHA)
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