Tension broke as early as 6 a.m. on Wednesday, when more than 200 members of the informal settlers’ and urban poor group Kadamay attempted to occupy the vacant housing units allocated for members of the military and police force in a government socialized housing project in Barangay San Isidro in Rodriguez, Rizal.
Clad in helmets and protective shields, local police and its civil disturbance units (CDUs), led by the town chief of police Supt. Pablito Naganag, immediately secured the area and diffused tension between the aggressive Kadamay members and Barangay San Isidro and homeowners association officials.
As local police force and barangay officials pacified the parties, they also coordinated with the homeowners in prodding Kadamay members who “invaded” the unoccupied housing units to vacate the houses, since these units were already awarded to the rightful housing beneficiaries.
Homeowners explained they were among the early beneficiary occupants of some 700 socialized housing units, while other rightful owners are expected to settle in as soon as documents and the proper turnover procedures are completed.
They also denounced the forcible occupation of the vacant units by the aggressive Kadamay members without the necessary documents pursuant to socialized housing occupancy guidelines to ensure the unit is habitable. This means the basic electrical, plumbing, toilet, and faucet connections are in place.
The homeowners association members explained that housing unit awardees like them must comply with the process on documentary requirements and payment terms and cannot just barge into the vacant unit and claim it.
As of noontime, some Kadamay members who retreated from occupying the vacant houses joined the other members who were barricading at the entrance of the housing site and refused to yield as they demanded local authorities and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to hear their plea.
As of press time, the Kadamay members were in a standoff, some of them bringing in personal belongings and kitchen utensils, thinking they could occupy the housing units, amid confusion brought by their leaders’ assurance that their eventual relocation got the blessing from the Rodriguez local government.
NHA community relations division representative Chris Guevarra, who was on site, said all the housing units have already been awarded to the qualified beneficiaries and belied claims by the Kadamay members that these are still available to them.
Meanwhile, Gloria Arellano, National Chairman of the Kadamay group, said in a media interview that they have supported the occupation by their members at the housing site here, insisting some of their members have applied through the Rodriguez local government unit (LGU) and the NHA.
Arellano admitted that as the housing project would be turned over to the LGU, they have requested for the housing project to be secured so that no unscrupulous person could just settle in the housing project.
“Kaya po kami nag-rarally para aksiyonan naman yung aming mga hinaing,” Arellano reasoned out, as she reported the slow response to their petition in behalf of Kadamay members who merely found these housing units that are unoccupied yet without verifying from proper authorities.
She explained that the Kadamay members who are now barricading near the San Isidro housing site are those who have sought application for their relocation allegedly based on a Palace resolution pending to be signed by the President to provide affordable housing units that are up for occupancy to the poor sector. PNA