DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The recent threat of violence posed by President Rodrigo Duterte against the members of Kadamay organization is a step of throwing away from the opportunity to make up with the poor.
This was the comment made by Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel B. Casilao in a statement he issued on Friday as he conveyed his indignation on the act of the President.
Duterte should “kill” homelessness in the country and not the poor Filipinos, the Makabayan solon stressed.
He added that erring officials of the National Housing Authority should be held liable for their slow action and undermining the provisions stipulated in Joint Resolution No. 2 which was already approved by Duterte. last May 9 of this year.
“It has been more than a month and the agency has yet to finalize an implementing rules and regulations, thus, becoming a stumbling block to a supposed reform measure,” Casilao averred.
He slammed the NHA for its crawling action and incompetency, adding that the longer it takes for the implementing rules to be finalized, it would vulnerable to graft and the very essence to benefit the urban poor would be undermined.
Casilao is referring to the Joint Resolution that was approved by the Senate on December 11, 2017 and was adopted and amended by the House last January 17, 2018.
Duterte approved the resolution last May 9.
In May last year, Casilao and other members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives filed House Resolution No. 894 pushing a probe on how the NHA implemented its housing program resulting to high unoccupancy rate as noted by the Commission on Audit.
“The legislative branch took the arduous task of coming up with a legislative measure, as the units were legally for uniformed personnel, and now the executive branch appears not to grasp the urgency of the said measure,” Casilao said.
It would turn out that the Duterte government is morally pathetic as it acts against the wisdom of the very resolution the President approved, he added.
“Duterte and the NHA expose themselves as callous as they are oblivious of the homelessness epidemic as if addressing it could wait for months or a longer period of time,” he pointed out.
Casilao said that from 2016 to 2022, a backlog of 6.8 million housing units is needed to be constructed to address homelessness in the country.
Since 2011, the government has allocated more than P20 billion for more than 74,000 housing units for uniformed personnel, but since last year, of the more than 62,000 units completed, only a little more than 7,000 were occupied and 55,000 were idle and left to deteriorate across the country, he added.
Addressing homelessness is urgent, the Makabayan solon underscored, as it puts the urban poor into a constant vulnerability to health, unsanitary environment, inaccessibility to potable water and utilities, threat family safety, inaccessibility to social services such as education and health, as they prioritize spending for food, discrimination and unemployment and other chronic symptoms of poverty.
He also warned against graft practices by some NHA officials colluding with local government units.
Casilao also quoted a report from Kadamay stating that the NHA is trying to disqualify its members so the number of allocations for local government employees could increase, such as in the case of the relocation site in Pandi town, in Bulacan.
“If NHA’s mission is to get rid of Kadamay and rule over their lackeys in the homeowners’ association, they should start reconsidering as it would be another epic blunder, especially if we at Congress, are able to gather enough information to hold those involved liable administratively or even criminally,” Casilao said.
Duterte warned the members of Kadamay to vacate the houses they occupied in Rodriguez, Rizal or they will be evicted forcibly by the police.
The President gave the Kadamay members until Friday noon, June 15 to vacate.
The warning was given as Duterte presided over the oath taking of more than 4,000 newly elected barangay captains in Calabarzon area on Thursday.
“Ito Kadamay ngayon. Eh bagong bahay ng mga sundalo, ninak … Kaya sabi ko, ako nagwa-warning ha. Sabi ko sa pulis, ‘kunin ninyo ulit.’ Kung gusto ninyo ng away, sabihin ko sa pulis bigyan mo ng away,” Duterte said.
The President added: “Kung magkamatayan, huwag kayong mauna. Pero kung kailangan pumatay kayo para i-implement ang legal na regulasyon, gawain ninyo.”
Around 500 members of Kadamay trooped to Rodriguez, Rizal on Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to occupy a state-funded housing project for policemen and soldiers.
“I will give you until noon tomorrow (Friday, June 15). Umalis kayo and I will order the SAF to go in,” Duterte said. (davaotoday.com)