Social justice for poor, homeless not excessive demands, group claims

May. 22, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte leads the groundbreaking ceremony of the Vista Alegre Homes at Barangay Dos Hermanas in Talisay City, Negros Occidental on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The Vista Alegre Homes is part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Housing Program. (Malacañang photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — While the urban poor group Kadamay lauded the recent passage of a resolution by President Rodrigo Duterte that allowed the re-distribution of idle housing units of uniformed personnel to new beneficiaries, the group also reminded the President that providing housing for the poor and homeless is not excessive.

The reaction came after Duterte, during the groundbreaking for a new housing site of uniformed personnel in Talisay City, Negros Occidental on Sunday said Kadamay “should not demand too much.”

“Housing, basic services, and a decent life are not excessive demands especially for those who have experienced the direst conditions in Philippine society,” Gloria Arellano, the national chairperson of Kadamay said in a statement issued on Monday.

Arellano noted that the poor and homeless continue to experience difficult situations under the administration of Mr. Duterte.

“Kadamay demands that shelter should be treated as a basic right for all Filipinos, that contractualization be ended unlike his recent PR (press release) stunt and that water be made accessible among other things,” she added.

Around 55,000 individuals are expected to benefit from the resolution signed by Mr. Duterte earlier this month, directing concerned agencies to re-distribute the idle housing units of uniformed personnel.

Kadamay said around 30 percent of the country’s lowest income earners will benefit from the said resolution.

“Kapag mahirap ba, hindi na maaring maningil sa pamahalaan? Hindi tamad ang mahihirap, kami ang mga tsuper, vendor, street sweeper, manggagawa na araw-araw nagsisikap at nagtitiis para lamang mabuhay. Sa gitna ng lahat, mga mahihirap din ang kadalasang pinapatay, dinedemolish, ginigipit at tinatapakan,” Arellano said.

Malacañang said on Monday that the groundbreaking rites in Talisay City highlighted the government’s commitment to address the housing needs of military and police personnel.

Located in Barangay Dos Hermanas, the housing project in Talisay City will be the fifth National Housing Authority (NHA) project under the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) Housing Program, Malacañang added.

A total of 1,000 duplex-type housing units will be constructed in the site for the personnel of AFP, PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

The construction is expected to be completed in 2020, Malacañang added.

Kadamay also demanded “a logical step” in providing “first aid” to shelter the poor and homeless families in the country.

The step,the group added, must include the utilization of all idle housing units in the country for the homeless and underprivileged.

The move must be undertaken despite the fact that major changes to the housing sector need to be enacted to enable decent,affordable public mass housing,Kadamay added.

“Why stop at housing for uniformed personnel? There are still so many homeless Filipinos. The NHA has previously said that ISF housing will be non-negotiable as they are being kept for those who will be relocated from Manila. Instead of displacing those already in the cities, the NHA and Duterte government should act swiftly on the plight of the already disastrous state of homelessness in the country,” Arellano said. (

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