Getting bolder and abusive PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 June 2018 14:26

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

President Duterte should now stop trumpeting that he is a close friend of the communist CCP-NPA. This communist organization and its camouflage arms groups are getting bolder and abusive to his kindness and tolerance. Take the case of Jose Ma. Sison, the CCP-NPA Chairman living in luxury and ease at the Netherlands. With the coming scheduled peace talks with the Philippine Government, he is unreasonably interposing additional demands which are unacceptable and hard to agree. First and foremost he does not want that the talks would be held in the Philippines.

Then here comes another group that has caught the attention and ire of many Filipinos, the Kadamay (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap). This alleged urban poor group made headlines in the front pages of national dailies, radios, and television networks last week when some of its members attempted to occupy part of a housing project in Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal.

This was their second such invasion of a housing project but unlike in the first, which took place in Pandi, Bulacan, their invasion was unsuccessful. Unlike in their first invasion when President Duterte relented and allowed their members to stay in the Bulacan housing that had originally been intended for military and police personnel, this time he angrily gave an angry ultimatum to vacate and remove themselves from the Rodriguez site lest they would be remove forcefully by the PNP-SAF. The other residents in the area have likewise bandied together and a form security group to protect their homes and keep these aggressive squatters out of their neighborhood.

The Kadamay, in the guise of being an urban poor group, has recruited many residents, mostly boys as young as eleven years old, to become CCP-NPA fighters to infiltrate government housing projects under the supervision of the National Housing Authority (NHA) and used these as training grounds of the communist rebels, according to some of its former members and leaders. The group also threatens and charges every member the amount of P150 for every protest they would conduct against the government. Because of these, as many as 300 families have withdrawn their memberships from this organization  for reasons they cannot anymore stomach their threats and protest which they don’t like and agree.

This group would have not have been in existence if it were not because of bad planning, gross mismanagement, and graft and corruption committed in implementing these housing program under the administration of Pnoy Aquino. During his term, 72,000 socialized housing units were built, however, 55,000 are yet to be occupied by eligible beneficiaries—members of the AFP, police personnel, teachers and poor families. But the main reason why many are not yet finished and unusable is  Pnoy’s rush to champion low-cost housing with an impressive number of houses built totally neglecting the importance and concern for their actual livability. Remember the Yolanda and Zamboanga housing projects that have remained unfinished and unfit for habitation? The units are too small for normal-size families, built of substandard materials, located in remote, faraway areas with no basic utilities such as electricity and water. This is likewise the very reason why many AFP and police personnel prefer themselves to build their own housing units instead of waiting for the government to do it.

In sum, at a cost of P230,000 per unit, the 55,000 unoccupied housing units totals to a potential waste of government money in the amount of P12.65 billion—a very big sum indeed that could have been used for the delivery of other important services.

But others, with no other alternative, would risk their lives, limbs, and safety just to own and have a protective cover over their heads while they stay and sleep together with their families in these units.

Over here in Zamboanga City, these unfinished and unliveable housing units built in Rio Hondo and Tulungatung constructed during the term of Pnoy, could have been remedied if the present local administration of Mayor Beng Salazar should have monitored their construction. Unfortunately, the unfinished units are already destroyed and dilapidated long before they are finished. It’s a good thing we don’t have a Kadamay organization here. Congress has been conducting an investigation over the construction of these housing units but has not yet wrapped up their final findings and recommendations on what to do with those who are responsible for the construction of these highly anomalous and graft—ridden housing units.