By Chito A. Chavez
The urban poor group Kadamay on Thursday stressed there was nothing wrong for its members to troop to the housing project in San Isidro, Rodriguez Rizal saying this was done to protect the homes supposedly promised to them by the government.
In defending their action, Gloria Arellano Kadamay national chairman said they had no choice but to enforce a “bantayang bahay (house watch)” protest after supposed beneficiaries from their group were passed over for other candidates.
She said the names of the qualified beneficiaries were not released as suspicion among Kadamay members surfaced that the homes intended for them were being awarded to other candidates through the intercession of some local government units (LGU).
“Ibig sabihin ho, ang hindi piniprioritize yung taga-Montalban mismo na nag-aaply na doon dahil sila nga po yung homeless nga po, yung mga renter, sharer (This means the homeless applicants from Montalban who are renter sharer are not being prioritized),” Arellano said.
Arellano clarified that the protesters were not occupying the houses but were merely blocking access to the houses to ensure that none of the families placed there by the local government can move in.
The Kadamay head insisted that the applicants are also undergoing the normal process imposed by the National Housing Authority (NHA) citing their intention to have a dialogue with the housing agency while pushing the government to expedite their procedure.
NHA Resettlement and Development Services Manager Elsie Trinidad said they have expedited the process of awarding Kadamay members housing through Joint Resolution 2.
Joint Resolution 2, signed on May 9, allowed the NHA to award housing units that are unoccupied by personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
She added that they are working on the implementing rules and regulations of Joint Resolution 2 which will not exclusively cater to Kadamay members while processing paperwork of qualified beneficiaries.
Trinidad said NHA’s legal department is now scrutinizing if Kadamay’s “bantayang bahay” protest could be considered as unlawful.