Gloria Arellano of Kadamay was one of the resource persons of the Senate committee on urban planning, housing and resettlement during an inquiry on the government’s housing program.
Senator JV Ejercito, chairman of the Senate panel, and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, his counterpart in the House of Representatives, asked Arellano whether they were willing to pay for the housing units they occupied if they are given employment.
According to the National Housing Authority (NHA), five of the total seven socialized housing sites occupied by Kadamay are intended for informal settlers in Metro Manila, while the other two are for the police and military personnel with the lowest three ranks.
Ejerctio asked Arellano whether Kadamay members are willing to work to pay for the housing units they occupied. He said Kadamay members may avail of employment opportunities from the infrastructure programs of the government.
“Habang wala pong trabaho, libreng pabahay muna. Habang walang trabaho. Eh saan po kukuha ng bayad?” Arellano said in response.
“Wala na silang masilungan. Kung makikita niyo, dumadami na mga squatter sa Bulacan eh. Kasi sila mismo, squatter sa kanilang probinsya tapos yung mga bahay nakatiwangwang,” she added.
Arellano further said only the poor can bear living in such tiny homes as she was pressed by Benitez whether they are willing to pay for the Pandi housing units.
“Kung tayo ay may regular na trabaho at sapat na sahod, baka hindi na natin gusto tumira sa malayo; mangupahan na lang tayo dito ng apartment, condominium pag meron tayong trabaho na maayos. Eh ang nakakatiis lang sa ginawa ng NHA, mahihirap lang eh,” she said.
“Ang liit-liit, tsaka sira-sira na. Ang liit-liit talaga, hindi matirhan. Baka sa inyo, kwarto lang ng inyong alagang aso, yung mga ginawa nila dun,” Arellano added.
Both the military and police said they weren’t informed by the NHA about the design of the houses. Supt. Antonio Taylan, director of the PNP Engineering Service, noted that the units were “too small” as 22 square meters are “not enough for the family.”
Ejercito himself pointed out that the international standard requires seven square meters per person. “So kung 22 [sq. m.] lang, tatlong tao lang. Pag lagpas na, nakatayo na sila matulog,” he said.
The Senate and House committees intend to conduct an ocular inspection of the area soon.
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