Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao expressed support to the successful occupation by members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) of 5,208 idle relocation housing units in five separate sites in different barangays in Pandi town, Bulacan province.
“The urban poor’s daring mass action in Bulacan is a breakthrough, for advancing their rights to affordable and mass and service-oriented housing, and it exposes the anti-poor framework of the government housing program, particularly the Public-Private Partnership on developing the sites,” Casilao said.
As a significant part of Anakpawis membership is from the urban poor sector, Casilao, with Makabayan lawmakers have filed last year, House Bill No. 559 or the Repeal of the Republict Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) as it serves as a main instrument in demolishing urban poor communities and displacing poor sectors. He also filed House Resolution No. 238 or the Nationwide Moratorium of Violent Demolition of Urban Poor Communities.
Casilao is pointing out that relocation or housing projects of the government are majorly dominated by the private sectors, particularly the construction, management and operations, hence, resulting the high fees being charged from supposedly poor beneficiaries.
“Relocation sites are usually sub-contracting utilities such as water and electricity, charging more from the already poor, and eventually due to non-payment, services are being cut-off,” Casilao said.
Anakpawis also criticized the desolate state of relocatees such as the death of a three-year old child last year due to drinking contaminated water in St. Martha, Bocaue, Bulacan. Members of the relocatees association blamed the contractors for the incident.
“We relate the ‘occupy’ action as an anti-neo-liberal struggle, to challenge the private domination and dictates on the government housing program. We echo their call for an affordable and mass-oriented housing program, and ridding out of private contractors who takes profit of over-charging the poor,” Casilao said. ###