DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A militant lawmaker called on Friday the repeal of Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 in the wake of continuing and violent demolitions against urban poor communities.
“UDHA obviously failed to serve the poor but successful in paving way for profit interests of foreign monopoly and big businesses in real estate development,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said in a statement Friday.
Casilao’s statement came on the heels of protest led by the members of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in front of the National Housing Authority office in Quezon City on Friday, March 24.
The urban group urged government to allow its members to occupy the housing units in Bulacan. Kadamay members who occupied a score of idle housing units in Padre Pio Village in Pandi, Bulacan have been served with eviction notices by NHA on Wednesday.
NHA’s eviction notices gave the members of the urban group, seven days to vacate the idle government housing units.
But Casilao defended the Kadamay members, saying the housing project for police and military personnel wasted billions of public funds. He criticized the NHA for its “anomalous practices of development of relocation sites” involving its officials and private contractors.
Casilao authored House Bill No. 559 or the repeal of UDHA, as well as House Resolution No. 238 calling for a nationwide moratorium on violent demolitions of urban poor communities.
“We challenge the NHA to stop covering up for the housing fiasco committed during the Aquino administration, the continued opposition of the NHA to the legitimate and just demands of the urban poor is undermining the poor sectors’ support to the president and affirming private interest instead of public service,” he said.
The militant solon from Davao also warned NHA against its eviction notice as it is illegal even based on the UDHA.
“The more than 6,000 families occupying the housing units in Bulacan is enough force to defend their rights, generate broad support and demand a pro-poor and pro-people housing program,” Casilao said.
Meanwhile, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights also said that UDHA miserably failed in providing shelter to underprivileged when it was crafted back in 1992.
“The idle houses in Bulacan are not idle because there is no demand or need for homes. They are scandalously idle because this so-called socialized housing projects built from taxpayers’ money became a market-driven and profit-oriented houses which are beyond the beneficiaries’ reach,” said Daisy Arago, CTUHR executive director, in a statement.
CTUHR also criticized the 25-year old housing law, saying it has done nothing to benefit the poor and homeless and has been used by the government and big businesses to rake profits from the high cost of amortization they require the “beneficiaries” to pay.
“The militant assertion of the urban poor in Pandi, Bulacan is a clear manifestation of UDHA’s failure to address the housing crisis,” Arago added. (davaotoday.com)