Militant solon tells Duterte: Protect poor families’ right to shelter

May. 22, 2017

Anakpawis Partylist Representative Ariel Casilao ( file photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Instead of expressing statement that incites violence, a militant lawmaker on Monday urged Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to protect the basic right to shelter of every poor family across the country.

“While we appreciate the President’s consent of the occupy action in Bulacan, we urge him to avoid statements of that essence, as it may actually result to violent attacks against the urban poor sector; if only homelessness is resolved, none of this incident would ever take place,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said in a statement Monday, May 22.

Casilao has expressed concern over the statement of the President, saying that members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay “might get shot” by the owners of government relocation housing units once they forcibly occupy them.

According to Casilao, Duterte’s statement could be viewed as “a license to violently assault members of the group.”

The militant lawmaker also said that Duterte should see the occupation in a “positive light” as it was brought upon by the “deteriorating and vacant government housing projects” that wasted only billions of public funds.

The urban poor Kadamay claimed the government constructed 56, 000 mass housing units across the country but less than 40 percent were only occupied because of substandard construction, proximity to work and all housing units lack basic services.

Casilao attributed the problem to what he called as “ill-planning.” He also said that relocation sites are “remote, scarce of, and away from the poor’s sources of livelihood and jobs.”

“We urge the president to seriously protect the basic right to shelter of every urban poor family in the country. A slum or shanty shelter is obviously contributory to the deteriorating health of children and family members akin to a slow death,” Casilao said.

Apart from this, he also questioned the implementation framework of the National Housing Authority. This as he slammed NHA for not recognizing Kadamay members who launched the occupy action as beneficiaries.

Of their more than 12,000 members, only 5,720 have been accepted as beneficiary to the site in Pandi town, Bulacan, according to Casilao.

“If Kadamay did not carry out the ‘Occupy Bulacan,’ those housing units will still be vacant and the gov’t will only be wasting the budget used for the project,” Casilao said. (

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