Youth party tells Duterte: look further into housing crisis

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kabataan Partylist compels President Rodrigo Duterte to look further into the country’s housing crisis, following his recent pronouncement to give the housing units in Bulacan occupied by members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) this March.

“We laud the victory of collective action, as the occupants led by KADAMAY militantly asserted their just right to housing through the occupation of idle housing sites,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

Duterte recently conceded and said that he will give the occupied housing units to the KADAMAY members, and promised to supervise another housing project for the supposed military and police beneficiaries.

“We hope that this is not another of those flip-flop statements of his. We now challenge the Duterte administration to the next step – to hold an investigation and address the housing situation in the country, not just for the state forces but for everyone,” Elago said.

According to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the housing backlog as of December 2016 is pegged at 2.02 million units, and this is expected to swell to almost 6.80 million by 2022. According to the National Housing Authority (NHA), there are about 52,341 idle housing units as of last year.

“The Duterte administration should investigate why so many houses are left unoccupied despite the huge housing backlog. They should look into the reported substandard quality of these housing units and the fact that some of these units are being used as a business venture, selling them to would-be buyers who are not poor.

“More than the ‘anarchic’ occupation of houses, these are the KADAMAY occupants’ demands: that the President address the longstanding housing problem in the country, accompanied by ensuring regular jobs and decent wages for everyone,” Elago said.

“The Filipino youth will remain in solidarity with the urban poor in the fight for a free and decent housing program, and the struggle for a just and humane society. We will exert all avenues, from the socio-economic agenda of the GRP-NDF peace talks, to the demonstration of our collective action in asserting our right. For as long as the crises of the urban poor in housing and labor remain, expect more occupations and re-occupations as a growing resistance to the rotten anti-poor system,” Elago concluded. ###