MORE than 200 members of the informal settlers’ and urban poor group Kadamay attempted to occupy vacant houses intended for soldiers and police officers in Rodriguez, Rizal on Wednesday.
Tension gripped Barangay San Isidro as early as 6 a.m. as homeowners association officials confronted Kadamay members, who barricaded the entrance of the housing site and demanded that local authorities and the National Housing Authority (NHA) hear their plea.
The timely intervention of local policemen and barangay officials prevented a violent confrontation as homeowners denounced and prodded Kadamay members who “invaded” unoccupied housing units in the area to vacate the houses that were already awarded to their rightful 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 proper turnover procedures are completed.
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.
The Kadamay members retreated around noon and joined the other members who were barricading at the entrance of the housing site. They refused to disperse and demanded that local authorities and the National Housing Authority (NHA) hear their plea.
As of press time, the Kadamay members and homeowners were in a standoff, with some of the former bringing in personal belongings and kitchen utensils thinking they could occupy the housing units as their leaders’ assured them that their eventual relocation got the blessing from the local government unit (LGU).
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 in Rodriguez insisting some of their members have applied through the 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-ra-rally 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.