SENATOR Richard Gordon has described as a “ticket to anarchy” the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to give away the idle government housing units in Pandi, Bulacan illegally occupied by members of the militant Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).
Sen. JV Ejercito warned that Kadamay’s occupation might become a “precedent” for other groups demanding housing from the government. “We want them to comply with the process.”
The President on Tuesday asked the beneficiaries of the housing project, policemen and soldiers, to “let go” of their assigned units to avoid any violent confrontation.
The Chief Executive made the appeal during the Philippine Army’s 120th anniversary in Fort Bonifacio even as he vowed to look for a “better” housing site for them.
“That’s bad signal Mr. President. Again your falling on your own sword because ‘pag ganyan that’s a ticket to what you called anarchy. Anybody taking the law into their own hands. These people are not above the law. And we shouldn’t do that,” said Gordon.
Ejercito said that he is against any form of a government project being “held hostage” in order to justify anyone’s need for shelter, unless in times of calamity.
“While I appreciate President Duterte’s heart for the poor and homeless this should not be the means for anyone to become a recipient of housing projects,” he said.
“We have to do things right. Kadamay should still go through the proper process in the turnover and awarding of housing units,” said Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning and Housing.
He believes that the Kadamay’s “occupation” in Pandi, Bulacan served as a “wake-up” call for the government to address the country’s massive housing problem, as evident with the President’s decision to finally hand over the housing units to Kadamay members. Resolving housing woes should not be as complicated as this, he said.
Ejercito said that regardless of the President’s decision, the Senate probe into Kadamay’s occupation of the Pandi, Bulacan housing project will still push through on April 18.
“We want to know those accountable for the neglect of the housing projects and where the funds were funneled. Our inquiry will also tackle issues as to why a number of housing projects by the National Housing Authority (NHA) remain substandard in quality, unoccupied, and fragmented,” he said.
“By now I believe we are convinced that government housing projects are no longer about structures, but should also cover a comprehensive and strategic plan in addressing other basic needs of beneficiaries such as access to livelihood, transportation, education, and health facilities,” he said.
He added: “To effectively map this out and to address the housing backlog, we need to pursue the creation of a Department on Human Settlements and Urban Development and the passage of the In-City Relocation Bill. These two are our priority measures in the Senate Committee this year.”