Personnel of Manila City Hall and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority dismantle tents set up by Kadamay in Mendiola on Jan. 30, 2018.
Edd Gumban, file
Duterte tells Kadamay to leave 'occupied' houses or face violent dispersal
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - June 14, 2018 - 8:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Members of a militant urban poor group should leave the housing units they are supposedly occupying by noon on Friday or face a violent dispersal, President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Thursday.

On Wednesday, around 500 members of the militant urban group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) tried to occupy idle housing units intended for soldiers and police officers in Rodriguez, Rizal.

Kadamay members arrived at the La Solidaridad Estate Homes in San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal at around 5 a.m. and dispersed at around 2:30 p.m., according to Senior Superintendent Lou Evangelista, the police director of Rizal province.

“They held a rally, but they did not occupy any house... They dispersed at around 2:30 p.m,” Evangelista said.

However, this information seemed to have failed to reach the president. who said on Thursday: "You leave that place, you Kadamay members. If things get messy and somebody dies, before the nation I will say, 'That is my order.'"

The president warned that he would call in members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force to force those illegally occupying the houses out of the units.

'Housing units idle for years'

In a statement, Kadamay said its members had trooped to the site to call for the distribution of the housing units, which it said had been idle for five years, to the homeless. They said members were willing to pay for the houses "on agreed terms with the NHA."

The Montalban Homeless Alliance, which Kadamay said its local chapter was a part of, said the group had been trying to hold a dialogue with the National Housing Authority and the local government of Rodriguez but had been ignored.

According to earlier news reports, President Rodrigo Duterte approved in May a joint congressional resolution authorizing the NHA to award housing units meant for personnel of the uniformed services that remain unoccupied.

The same resolution authorizes the NHA to award units that have been surrendered by the awardees and awarded units that the government has revoked.

The resolution cited a 2016 Commission on Audit report that found that only 7,143 of 62,472 housing units completed have people living in them. According to NHA figures, only 8,837 of 63,836 units built as of July 2017 were occupied.

The Montalban Homeless Alliance, which Kadamay said its local chapter was a part of, said the group had been trying to hold a dialogue with the National Housing Authority and the local government of Rodriguez but had been ignored.

According to earlier news reports, President Rodrigo Duterte approved in May a joint congressional resolution authorizing the NHA to award housing units meant for personnel of the uniformed services that remain unoccupied.

The same resolution authorizes the NHA to award units that have been surrendered by the awardees and awarded units that the government has revoked.

The resolution cited a 2016 Commission on Audit report that found that only 7,143 of 62,472 housing units completed have people living in them.

According to NHA figures, only 8,837 of 63,836 units built as of July 2017 were occupied.

The group said the NHA and the local government had been using the housing units for political patronage.

"They let their supporters or even outsiders live in the housing units," Lilybeth Gelit, MHA spokesperson, said in Filipino the Kadamay statement.

"The Bantayang Bahay was a peaceful protest asserting the fundamental right to shelter and against the continuing flaws of the Philippine housing sector under the Duterte government," Kadamay said as it denied initial reports that its members attacked people in the housing site.

"At its core, Kadamay says that there are still so many idle houses and so many homeless, even with the joint resolution already in place, the poor are left unheard and are victims to the ploys of those in power," the group also said.

Duterte: Leftists are fools, sons of b****s

Duterte called members of the urban poor group and other leftist organizations "fools" and "sons of bitches" for asking for his help despite burning his effigy and pissing on stickers bearing his face.

"If something bad happens to you, it's your problem. You piss on my face, you burn, now you are asking for me help. You son of a b****, that's your problem. Whom are you threatening? Me?" the president said in his speech in Laguna.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier in the day said that the president would not allow another takeover by Kadamay of housing units for soldiers and policemen.

“In the past, the president allowed Kadamay to occupy government housing project intended for soldiers in Pandi. But if you will recall, the president said that would be the first and the last,” Roque said.

He said that Kadamay would be dealt with "the full extent of the law" should it takeover another batch of housing units.

In February, it was reported some members of the militant urban group were reportedly selling or putting up for rent housing units awarded to them by the government.

The NHA estimated that at least 600 houses awarded to Kadamay members were up for rent.

However, the militant group accused the NHA of setting them up.

The government had earlier awarded some 6,000 housing units in Pandi, Bulacan, which the group took over last year.

HOUSING CRISIS KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP RODRIGO DUTERTE URBAN POOR GROUP
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