‘Gov’t housing program may collapse due to Kadamay precedent’

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2017 - 12:00am

PANDI, Bulacan , Philippines  – Lawmakers yesterday warned of the possible collapse of the government’s socialized and low-cost housing program after several beneficiaries refused to pay their monthly amortization to the National Housing Authority (NHA), citing the thousands of shelters given for free to members of a militant urban poor group.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez made the warning after inspecting the housing units here that have been illegally occupied by over 5,000 members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Ejercito and Benitez chair the committees on housing and urban development in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, which are conducting a joint inquiry into the issue.

The housing units were intended for personnel of the Armed Forces, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to be paid in low monthly installments.

President Duterte was forced to award these houses to Kadamay members after they refused to vacate the area. 

NHA general manager Marcelino Escalada and Region 3 chief Romuel Alimboyao said the collection of monthly amortization for housing projects nationwide has plunged.

The biggest reduction was felt in Central Luzon, where collections went down by over 50 percent, Alimboyao said.

He said the beneficiaries of housing projects in other areas argued that why should they continue paying their monthly obligations if the Kadamay members were able to get their homes for free.

Escalada said NHA personnel were doing their best to convince the beneficiaries to settle their monthly amortization.

“Kadamay can cause the collapse of the whole socialized housing sector because if the government cannot collect, it won’t have the funds to build more homes,” Ejercito said.

Ejercito maintained that government housing units should not be given for free.

He and Benitez proposed a work-for-home scheme as many Kadamay members are unemployed.

Soldiers and policemen have rejected the housing units for being unfit for them.

“The NHA admitted there was some failure in their housing programs. Escalada said there was a mismatch in the housing units and the intended beneficiaries,” Benitez said.

 Kadamay head Gloria Arellano said members of the group are not only asking for free shelter but also jobs. – With Rhodina Villanueva   

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