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SHELTER WOES

Bulacan town wants housing site eyed by Kadamay

/ 02:25 AM May 18, 2017
Members of the urban poor group Kadamay gather at a government housing site in Pandi town, Bulacan province, for a validation process conducted by the National Housing Authority.  —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Members of the urban poor group Kadamay gather at a government housing site in Pandi town, Bulacan province, for a validation process conducted by the National Housing Authority. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

BOCAUE, BULACAN—The local government of Bocaue has staked a claim over idle houses at a government housing site here, which is the next resettlement project being eyed by the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna said she asked the National Housing Authority (NHA) to allocate to squatter families living along the waterways in the town all idle houses designated for soldiers, policemen, firemen and jail personnel in Barangay Batia.

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The town government has been completing an inventory of these settlers who need to be relocated to clear the waterways of debris. The town’s low rice productivity has been attributed to shanties obstructing irrigation water coming from Angat Dam.

The NHA Batia project, composed of 4,000 units, was opened in 2012.

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On March 8, Kadamay occupied 5,262 idle houses in six NHA housing sites in Pandi town. But its members failed to break into the Batia project site.

Ten Bocaue policemen live there and the remaining units have been awarded to eligible beneficiaries. The police were tasked to guard and stop any attempt by Kadamay to occupy the houses in Batia, said Supt. Jowen dela Cruz, Bocaue police chief.

He belied reports that 3,200 units there remained unoccupied, saying that many beneficiaries had moved in.

The NHA has set June 15 as the deadline for policemen and other beneficiaries of the Batia housing project to signify whether they still want their awarded units.

On Monday, about 1,000 Kadamay members staged a rally at the NHA office in Balagtas town to demand access to the idle houses in Batia.

Informed about the Bocaue government’s plans, Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chair, said the group would not oppose moves to stop squatter families from occupying houses but would insist that they should be given priority.

“Let them (squatters living along waterways) be granted houses but they should not take what was promised to Kadamay. Our agreement with the NHA is for Kadamay families, who could not occupy houses [in Pandi Village 2 in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, Pandi], be granted entry passes to the available units in other project sites,” she said. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE

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TAGS: Batia housing project, government housing site, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna, National Housing Authority (NHA), resettlement project
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