Lament of the Poor of my Country

By Prof. Ed M. Villegas, PhD

You only pass by to see how we live,
When elections draw near and votes are needed,
You only come to stay in our dirty place,
Because you aim to have good grades,
You only took into our sufferings to fill your paintings.

But where were you when your brothers and sisters,
Slowly wither away in hunger and despair?
Where were you when they lie dying in misery?
When our children fell into the mire of ignorance,
Enslaved by evil men for profit and pleasures?

We do not need your false sympathies and condescension,
We do not need your dole-outs to perpetuate this system,
Where the few draw their comforts from the sweat of workers, 
Where the money of the many are stolen by the parasitical rich,
And the poor, unable to find jobs, desperate to survive, are slain, Exhibited as drug addicts, criminals and enemies of the state.
Where rule rapacious moguls with heartless souls.

The day shall come when we shall rise from the gutters of the earth,
The day shall come when with minds enlightened, side by side,
We will smash the very foundations of this unjust society,
So that free, we can at last create our own destiny.

Ang Mga Hirang

Gospel Poetry by Ferdinand Ong Dimarucot


Nilagot ang Tanikalang

Tumatakip sa Sansinukob

Naglagablab mga Tanging

Himig sa Bawat Sulok

Kinubkob ang Sigalot


Ang Ukol sa katampatan

Karapatan at Suhol!

Sinakop bawat Kalsada

Himutok ng Bawat Uri

Lahi at Lipi Sininop!

Umagos ang Tuwirang

Daloy…..Saksi paglagom

Tagumpay ng Pagtatasa

Haplos ng Nagdaan

PagAsa ng Ngayon!

Nakakabighaning Kirot

Umaani ng Libong LIKOM!

Nananaganang Panaghoy

Nagsisimpan Ng Dami ng Tao!

Progressives pay tribute to pro-poor bishop

Progressive groups and leaders paid tribute to United Church of Christ in the Philippines Bishop Elmer Bolocon who died from a lingering illness last week.

In their eulogies, activists recalled how the late prelate opened his church to the poor of Tondo District.

They also recalled how Bishop Bolocon worked hard for peace even in his later years.

Bishop Bolocon is one of the outspoken UCCP Bishops who struggled against social injustices under various administrations, from Marcos to the current Duterte government. (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun) Read more

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.
Read more

Kadamay: Unjust policies force poor to occupy housing sites

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) marched to Mendiola yesterday to urge President Rodrigo Duterte to a dialogue in order for them to show proof that hundreds of housing units are unoccupied in Bulacan Province.

Instead of distributing government housing units to poor beneficiaries, the National Housing Authority only choose families who can pay exorbitant rates, Kadamay said.

Hundreds of Kadamay members occupied several housing projects in Bulacan last week, a move aimed at bringing the issue to Duterte’ attention, the group said. (Video by Divine Miranda/Featured photo by Romie Malonzo) Read more

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

Bayan, Makabayan hit tax reform and death penalty bills

In a rally in at the House of Representatives various sectors led by the BAYAN and the Makabayan Coalition called for the rejection of the bills that would restore the death penalty and another that imposes higher taxes on the people. Both bills are government-sponsored.

Evan Hernandez of the rights group Hustisya said that under a justice system that is flawed if not downright rotten, death penalty is not a deterrent to crimes nor will it render justice to the victims.

Like the death penalty, the tax reform only hits the the poor rather than the rich said Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna. Zarate and other members of the Makabayan bloc vowed to oppose the bill and will instead push the Finance Dept. and the Bureau of Customs to efficiently work on their collection. (Video by Divine C. Miranda) Read more