PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday said he is giving away housing units in several resettlement zones in Bulacan to members of the urban poor Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) who forcibly occupied the government housing projects.
The President made the announcement during the 120th anniversary of the Army in Taguig City, as he told the original beneficiaries of the housing program – soldiers and policemen -- to just let go of the housing units and give them to the urban poor members of Kadamay.
Duterte said he would just look for another site which is nearer to Metro Manila and provide better, bigger, more comfortable and furnished housing units to the soldiers and policemen.
The President, who earlier said he would not tolerate the forced occupation of government housing units, said he is giving the housing units to the Kadamay members because they are poor and he no longer wants to push for their eviction as attempts to do so have resulted in violence, “and to think our sin is just we are poor.”
He warned Kadamay against creating chaos or any problem as he said he would be forced to evict them there.
“Iyung mga Kadamay andyan, huwag niyo galawin mga sundalo at police kundi paalisin ko kayo lahat. (For the Kadamay there, do not touch the soldiers and the police or I will evict all of you.) Do not create trouble. Avoid chaos and we will try to solve what ails this country,” he said.
In an ambush interview, the President dismissed the possibility that the awarding of the houses to Kadamay would embolden others to do the same.
“No, nag-warning na ako sa kanila (I warned them already). A warning is a warning… Alam mo ang tao mapagbigay pero huwag mo namang sobrahan (You know, people are generous, but do not take too much),” he said.
Duterte said he is directing the National Housing Authority to look for a suitable land for the soldiers and policemen and he hopes to complete these housing units and distribute them by December this year.
He also directed the GSIS to study the possibility of having a housing loan program that will complement the soldier’s ability to pay.
“I will look into the matter seriously and I will ask you soldiers and the policemen, bitawan na lang ninyo iyan, ibigay na lang natin sa kanila tutal mahirap sila. (Just drop it, just give it to them since they are poor.) But I promise you, I will look for another land nearby or adjacent or maybe contiguous to that area there and gagawa ako ng mas maganda. May tubig na at may electric na pagpasok ninyo (I will build a more beautiful house. One with water and electricity when you move in),” he said.
He assured the soldiers that they would have their own houses; that their compensation and other benefits are provided; and their equipment will be modernized.
Kadamay members last month started occupying low-cost housing units of the National Housing Authority in Pandi, San Jose del Monte, and Bustos, all in Bulacan, which were meant for the personnel of Philippine National Police and Armed Forces.
Kadamay members claimed that the police and soldiers do not want the houses which are small, without power and water, and far from Metro Manila. The houses measures about 22 square meters but has a provision for an expansion for a second level.
The NHA said more than 5,000 low-cost housing units in Bulacan located in Pandi Heights 1, Pandi Village 2 and Pandi Residence 3 have been occupied by Kadamay.
Attempts to evict them had been futile after Kadamay blocked and tried fighting the authorities.
Duterte said he would give the houses to Kadamay provided they not occupy or create problem for the policemen, soldiers and their families who are already living in some of the houses.
He said he intends to transfer the soldiers, policemen and their families who are already occupying units to another location once the new housing units are already completed.
Reports said more than 500 policemen and soldiers have been awarded the housing units.
The Army said it supports President Duterte’s appeal to soldiers to leave alone Kadamay members who occupied their housing units.
“We will adhere to the President’s appeal. We will talk to our troops and explain to them the position of our President,” said Army spokesman Col. Benjamin Hao.
Told that President’s stance may encourage similar incidents in the future, Hao just said: “We are going to wait for the right authorities to issue the rules and regulations on this.”
The previous administration built around 20,000 housing units for soldiers and policemen, through the National Housing Authority, in various parts of the country, including Bulacan.
Hao could not immediately say how many soldiers availed of the housing units in Bulacan.
Last year, Magdalo party list Rep. Gary Alejano disclosed that the housing units were substandard and small for a soldier with children. The military confirmed that the units were indeed “too small and substandard.”
Military sources saidmany soldiers have signified their intention to avail of the units when the Aquino administration announced their construction. However, they backed out when they saw the actual units.
The PNP said it will not object to Duterte’s plan to give the housing units to Kadamay members as it will not be a loss for them since policemen will still be awarded decent homes.
“The President said he will replace the housing units occupied by Kadamay with bigger, better and more comfortable houses for the soldiers and police,” said PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos.
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SOURCE: YOUTUBE, MALAYA