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2 urban poor activists abducted

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
bulatlat.com

MANILA — Two urban poor activists were forcibly disappeared yesterday, April 13, in Bulacan.

The two urban poor organizers are Kadamay member John Griefen Arlegui, 20, and youth group Anakbayan’s Reynaldo Remias, Jr., 24.

They were accosted at gunpoint between 10:00 to 11:00 in the morning while posting posters of senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares and partylist group Bayan Muna along Angat-Pandi Road, according to eyewitnesses.

Kadamay said in its statement that they were forced into a red car that bore no license plate by armed men in plainclothes, right in front of the Iglesia ni Cristo church in Brgy. Sta Cruz, Angat, Bulacan.
 
Kadamay’s chapter in Pandi learned of their abduction when they noticed the election sortie vehicle, along with their election materials, parked along the highway in the afternoon of April 13. The two, however, were missing.
                                           
Kadamay said they have already searched police stations in Angat, Norzagaray, Sta. Maria, and San Jose del Monte but were told that the two are not in their custody.

Arlegui and Remias were among the members of Kadamay who occupied the abandoned government housing in Pandi, Bulacan.

The urban poor group suspects that the abductors belong to the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Last year, no less than President Duterte ordered an elite police force to go against Kadamay, whose members were occupying government housing units. He went as far as ordering to have them killed should Kadamay resist a police takeover in the housing units.

This is not the first time for Kadamay members in Pandi to be subjected to rights abuses.

On March 26, 2019, two Kadamay members Marlon Acedera and Joel Chavez were illegally arrested when bullets were supposedly found in their homes within the occupied housing in Padre Pio Resettlement in Cacarong Bata, Pandi.

The two remain incarcerated as of this writing.

Kadamay national chairperson Gloria Arellano called for the surfacing of their two members.

She added, “we blame the Duterte regime for openly attacking the legal democratic movement with all the possible means in order to quell the resistance of the Filipino people against its anti-poor and anti-people policies.” #

‘Trabaho, serbisyo, paninirahan’

“Kaming mga maralita, ang panawagan namin ay trabaho na may sapat na sahod, gayundin ang serbisyong panlipunan—lalong-lalo na ang disenteng paninirahan.”—Bea Arellano, Chairperson, Kadamay

San Roque residents still hope for Duterte’s promised change

Their shrinking community now lies sandwiched between towering apartments and sprawling malls for the moneyed few. But residents of Sitio San Roque in Barangay Pag-Asa in Quezon City remain hopeful their struggle for decent and just housing would finally come true under President Rodrigo Duterte who promised as much.

(Video by Gabe Sante and Gabby Endona of UP-CMC for Kodao Productions) Read more

Taguiwalo admits ‘tolerating’ Kadamay members, poor citizens

FOLLOWING accusations the Department of Social Welfare and Development is “tolerating” Kadamay members who occupied vacant housing units in Bulacan province by giving them assistance, Secretary Judy Taguiwalo called a press conference last Friday.

Taguiwalo tried presenting and discussing other DSWD programs but majority of journalists present were focused on the agency’s distribution of food packs in Pandi, Bulacan last week and on accusations the agency is giving special treatment to the “occupiers.”

Taguiwalo said all of DSWD’s programs are for the poor.  She said the agency is always ready to give help to those who ask, especially the poor.
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Kadamay presses demand for housing rights

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) trooped to the National Housing Authority yesterday, March 24, to condemn the agency’s failure to address the housing crisis that victimizes at least five million families household nationwide.

The group called for scrapping of the Urban Development and Housing Act it said never succeeded in addressing the ever-worsening shortage of housing for the poor.

Kadamay called on the poor to join them in demanding free mass housing for the poor from the Rodrigo Duterte government. (Video by Divine Miranda)

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Urban poor calls for scrapping of Housing Act of 1992

The Rodrigo Duterte government must step up in terms of providing mass housing, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay)  said.

“For too long the public has been led to believe that social services, like housing, were only meant to be publicly funded but not publicly allocated. There is a housing crisis in the country, not only because the government’s 5.5 million backlog still stands but because the current setup of socialized housing is inherently anti-poor,” Kadamay secretary-general Carlito Badion said.

Among the issues Kadamay protested at a rally in front of Mendiola last March 13 was the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) insistence on the “socialized” housing scheme spelled out in Republic Act 7279, the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992.

Kadamay, however, rejects the scheme as its forces the poor to pay up on what should be a basic social service.

“The government and NHA insist that the urban poor, one of the most disenfranchised in our country, should pay for a basic right,” Badion said.

It is as if the houses being built and sold come with water, electricity and basic utilities, Badion added.

“Occupy Bulacan”

To force the Duterte government to finally act, Kadamay started occupying government housing units in Bulacan Province since March 8.

Kadamay said the houses comprise a small percentage of 53,000 units that have remained vacant for as long as five years.

The NHA has called their actions “illegal” while Duterte called Kadamay’s move as “anarchic.”

Kadamay condemned the statements, saying their actions would not have been necessary had the government acted on Duterte’s promise to distribute vacant housing units during last year’s Housing Summit.

“This is not the first time we have voiced our demands. We marched and presented our call for housing rights before the president. Our petitions have fallen on deaf ears,” he added.

Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said they are not taking houses away from alleged rightful owners.

“That cannot be the case when there is nobody living in the houses,” she said.

Kadamay said their sector continue to suffer as when the Benigno Aquino government demolished their communities and forcibly evicted thousands of families from their houses.

“Duterte’s government is showing that Presidents past and present take the same stance against the interests of the poor,” Badion said.

They called for the scrapping of the UDHA, which they saw as an obstacle to their basic right to housing.

“By retaining the UDHA and the NHA’s corrupt practices, problems for the urban poor will keep repeating themselves. The UDHA must be scrapped to make way for free and mass housing for the poor,” Kadamay said. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

 

“Duterte promised us free housing”–Kadamay

THE Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said their occupation of vacant units at various projects in Pandi, Bulacan stemmed from President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of free housing.

They said they have waited long enough for the promise to be fulfilled, repeatedly petitioning various government agencies, to no avail.

Finally, last March 8, they have decided to take matters into their own hands and moved into vacant housing units that have been waiting for occupants for at least two years already.
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Urban poor residents score vs rent interest impositions

RESIDENTS of Southville 3 in Muntinlupa City ended their rally today in a triumphant note after National Housing Authority (NHA) officials agreed to lift housing interest rates imposed on them since 2009.

Armed with an endorsement from Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chairman Terry Ridon  and accompanied by former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, Sandigan at Malayang Samahan ng Southville 3 (Sama-Sama sa SV3) members finally won an audience with NHA Muntinlupa officials and allowed to present their complaints against rent and interest impositions. Read more

Duterte asks Robredo to lead HUDCC

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte asked Vice President Leonor Robredo to head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, making her a member of his Cabinet.

Robredo accepted the appointment, made through a phone call while Duterte was in a press conference in Malacañan Palace last Friday.

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Victims of recent demolitions condemn QC government

RESIDENTS of Apollo Street along Tandang Sora Avenue protested at the Quezon City Hall today to condemn the demolition of their community.

Demolition victim Ernesto Ringor Jr. said Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel showed up at their compound under the pretext of the anti-criminality drive Oplan Galugad in the early hours of June 16.

Read the rest of the story here: Victims condemn lllegal demolition of communities

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