Youth party backs #OccupyBulacan as urban poor groups militantly assert housing rights

Thursday, March 9, 2017

KABATAAN Partylist supports the urban poor in their struggle for their right to decent and adequate housing and social services. The urban poor have long been marginalized and is under heavy attack by neoliberal policies espoused by previous and current administrations.

Hundreds of urban poor from Bulacan held #OccupyBulacan which is a militant assertion of their right to decent housing and social services. Around 200 families occupied 5,208 idle housing units in five relocation sites in Pandi, Bulacan.

The occupation, headed by mostly women, started yesterday, March 8, as the world commemorates the International Women’s Day.

We find it ironic that these settlement areas remain unoccupied, for years even, while thousands of urban poor workers and peasants suffer in inhumane, vulnerable conditions. Meanwhile, contractual labor and lack of regular jobs press down workers’ wages and further makes decent housing inaccessible to many.

Even the urban poor are victims of the state’s neoliberal policies. As high rise condominiums and inaccessible housing units boom like mushrooms and are sold to the highest bidder, majority of urban settlements are constantly being targeted for demolition and are transformed into business districts and economic zones.

Supposedly a basic right, housing has become a lucrative business and is tapped by big businesses and foreign corporations for profit, in collusion with government and local officials thru public-private partnerships.

As if this isn’t enough, the Duterte government’s anti-poor and fascist war on drugs is expected to intensify with the relaunch of “Oplan Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded.”

We condemn the Duterte administration, especially HUDCC chair Leoncio Evasco Jr, for perpetuating Aquino’s Informal Settler Fund (ISF) and other anti-poor and profit-oriented housing policies of past administrations, which only served to milk out profits from the people.

Further, we condemn the PNP and private guards for harassing the members of KADAMAY who are occupying these idle areas, and blocking the entry of food and other supplies for the occupants.

Thus, we call on the Filipino youth to stand in solidarity with #OccupyBulacan in their call to junk anti-poor and neoliberal policies. We must collectively fight for mass-oriented housing, social services and regular jobs and decent wages for the poor.

We call on our chapters and member organizations, student councils and publications, and other youth formations to extend their solidarity, through statements of support, food and supply donations, and most importantly, their physical presence and support the communities currently part of #OccupyBulacan. ###