Militants target another Bulacan housing project
Ramon Efren Lazaro (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Police and military personnel have foiled an attempt by members of the militant Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) to take over another government housing project in Bulacan.

Around 750 members of Kadamay tried to occupy vacant units at Bulacan Heights in Barangay Bonga Mayor in Bustos town at around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, said Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat Jr., acting Bulacan police director.

Caramat said the militants arrived in 30 passenger jeepneys, but were prevented by personnel of the Bulacan police and 48th Infantry Battalion.

The militants left after negotiations that lasted until 2:50 a.m. yesterday.

After occupying housing units in Pandi and San Jose del Monte City two weeks ago, Kadamay members attempted to occupy housing units in Bocaue, Bulacan and Rodriguez, Rizal.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) served eviction notices on Monday. The occupants were given until today to vacate the houses.

Positive step

Meanwhile, Kadamay welcomed the statement of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairman Leoncio Evasco opposing the eviction notices.

 “Not pushing through with the planned eviction is a positive step. Malacañang, the NHA and other shelter agencies must guarantee...the rights of the occupants,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson.

Arellano said they are fighting for the right of all urban poor Filipinos to own houses.

Kadamay had criticized the NHA for saying it would process the applications only of members of Kadamay.

“The NHA should not be selective and divisive...The issue here is national housing and the agency should not...appease certain sections of the poor,” Arellano said.

As this developed, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao warned the  NHA against evicting those who occupied government housing projects in Bulacan.

Casilao said the law protects homeless families from eviction from government housing projects and mandates the provision of alternative dwellings within 45 days after an eviction or demolition order.

He justified the takeover of Bulacan housing projects by Kadamay, saying billions of government funds are wasted because the units remain vacant.

Casilao filed Bill 559 which seeks to repeal Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act and Resolution 238 calling for a moratorium on demolition of urban poor communities. – With Ding Cervantes, Rhodina Villanueva 

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