By Chito Chavez
Disgruntled former members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) claimed the organization of being a breeding ground of the New People’s Army (NPA) contrary to the perception that it is a pro-poor advocate.
Jeffrey Ariz, a former Kadamay leader who occupied the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) housing project in Pandi, Bulacan, said that the group is currently facing disintegration due to alleged corruption by its top leadership.
“It is masquerading as a group carrying out long term struggle for eradication of poverty and for a just, free and prosperous society. But in truth, it is a front of the NPA tasked to agitate, organize and mobilize people against the government,” said Ariz.
Kadamay’s big denial
In a statement, Kadamay denied the allegations saying Ariz’s group had drawn up an elaborate plan to discredit the group by sowing disinformation to get in the good graces of the Duterte administration.
“Ariz himself is guilty of so many crimes yet authorities have given little to no attention in persecuting him,” the Kadamay statement read.
Ariz shrugged off Kadamay’s accusations and even expressed his willingness to be jailed if the charges leveled against him were true.
He also accused Kadamay of using government housing projects to bribe and woo prospective members for the NPA.
‘Money goes to NPA’
Another former Kadamay member Vilma dela Cruz maintained that NPA followers collected regular amounts from Kadamay members who were allowed to live on government housing.
She claimed the collections are then channeled to the NPA armed group as financial support.
To prevent total disintegration, Ariz said that the group’s top leader have resorted to intimidation and deception so as not to lose members.
So far, Ariz said that more than 300 individuals had defected from KADAMAY after getting fed up by corruption and violence sowed by the group’s armed component.
“Kadamay is gradually disintegrating due to internal and top level corruption and for purveying violence to peace loving people in Bulacan,” said Ariz.
More than 90 defectors, led by Ariz, have already filed a formal complaint against Kadamay leaders after being threatened and deceived by the group in Pandi, Bulacan where they forcibly occupied government housing projects.
‘NPAs infiltrate gov’t housing’
Ariz claimed several housing projects had been infiltrated by the NPA including Pandi 3, Villa Louise, Padre Pio, Villa Elis and Atlantica – all in Pandi, wherein it recruits armed members.
“All of the housing projects have been penetrated by the NPA,” Ariz said, noting how individuals with red bandanas have been freely rooming the BFP housing, asking the villages to “join the rebels.”
Ariz claimed people, with bandoleers (bullet magazine holders), were even bolder at night, visiting every house for the recruitment activity and with particular interest in young adventurous teenagers.
He claimed they were also asked to join the underground movement, but they refused.
Ariz added the more than 300 families that broke away from Kadamay bolted the organization claiming they were forced to attend rallies in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces.
For every rally, Ariz said Kadamay members were asked to shell out P150 up to P200 as issues raised during these demonstrations no longer dwell on poverty or lack of housing program alone but calls for the downfall of our legitimate government.
Ariz said their decision to leave Kadamay made them suffer continued harassment and even death threats from their former group.