Citing pro-poor stance on housing and jobs, Kadamay backs Robredo-Pangilinan

Citing pro-poor stance on housing and jobs, Kadamay backs Robredo-Pangilinan
This screengrab from a video posted by Kadamay, shows an April 23, 2020 gathering where the urban poor group announced support for Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Makabayan's Neri Colmenares, KMU's Elmer Labog and Anakpawi party-list.
Kadamay release

MANILA, Philippines — Urban poor group Kadamay on Saturday officially endorsed the candidacies of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, saying they offer hope of better housing and livelihood for poor Filipinos.

The endorsement, announced by Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano, was done at the Padre Pio de Pandi Resettlement Project in Pandi, Bulacan that Kadamay members occupied in March 2017. Kadamay also announced support for Anakpawis party-list and the senatorial candidacies of Makabayan chairperson Neri Colmenares and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer "Ka Bong" Labog.

"Consistent ang paglaban ni VP Leni sa pang-aapi ng administrasyong Duterte, at tumindig rin siya para sa paninirahan at kabuhayan ng maralitang Pilipino. Kakampi siya ng maralitang Pilipino laban sa tokhang, abuso ng kapulisan, at panghihimasok ng dayuhang mananakop," Arellano said in a statement on Saturday night.

(VP Leni has been consistent in opposing abuses under the Duterte administration and in standing up for housing and livelihood for poor Filipinos. She has been an ally of the poor against Tokhang, police abuse and foreign incursions.)

"Gusto namin ng pabahay para sa lahat ng mahihirap, trabaho at dagdag sahod para sa manggagawang Pilipino (We want housing for the poor and jobs and better wages for Filipino workers)," Arellano said, adding their support for Robredo and Pangilinan is also out of opposition to the potential return and continuation of the policies of the Marcos dictatorship and Duterte administration.

The endorsement, which the group called a gift to Robredo on her 57th birthday on Saturday, came with a makeshift "cake". 

"Sa halos walong oras na nilaan ko sa paggawa ng kakaibang cake kong ito na mula sa natirang colored paper ng anak ko ay ito lang ang kinaya kong ihandog sa iyong kaarawan," Kadamay Secretary-General Mimi Doringo said, adding it was a gift from the heart of a poor mother who has never had a birthday cake herself.

(This unique cake that I spent nearly eight hours making out of leftover colored paper is all that I can offer on your birthday)

Neglected housing sector

Kadamay said that Robredo had exposed neglect in the housing sector while she was briefly Duterte's housing secretary and found that access to water was a common problem at relocation sites.

The group said that "not much has changed since she lamented how half of relocation sites in the country do not have any source of potable water.

Robredo had also supported proposals for on-site and in-city housing over evictions and relocation, the group noted.

"Sinasalubong namin at sinusuportahan ang lahat ng panukala para sa pananatili sa komunidad at paggalang sa karapatan sa paninirahan," Arellano said. 

(We welcome and support all proposals that will allow the poor to stay in their communities and that recognize the right to housing)

Kadamay, which was criticized by senators and by President Rodrigo Duterte for occupying vacant and unused housing units in Pandi in 2017, has sometimes been portrayed as entitled for asserting the right to housing.

Arellano, in 2017, said that the occupation of the unused and undistributed housing units happened after a series of dialogues with the National Housing Authority and other housing agencies that led nowhere.

In an interview on alternative media website Bulatlat, she said that NHA "should be the one answering to the applicants as to why thousands of homes have been allowed to be idle despite people following steps [to apply for] housing."

In the statement Saturday, Arellano said: "Makasaysayan ang ginawang okupasyon sa Pandi, pero lalong magkakaroon ito ng halaga kung tuluyang ipamamahagi ng pamahalaan ang marami pang tiwangwang na pabahay sa buong bansa."

(The occupation of Pandi was historic but it will be even more meaningful if the government distributes the many housing units across the country that remain unused.)

Housing functions have been consolidated since 2019 under the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, which is also in charge of rehabilitation and rehousing in areas affected by disasters like and by conflict like Marawi City. 

According to the 2020 annual report of the NHA, it had started work on 67,785 units out of 54,777 target units that year and completed 6,605 units out of 48,480 target units. About two thirds, or 12,152 units out of 16,410 target units, had already been sold and disposed.

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