Group disputes agency’s logic on ‘beneficiaries’
Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, along with various experts hosted a media forum to comprehensively discuss the narrative of the occupation in Bulacan and how the National Housing Authority facilitates the massive profiteering on socialized housing.
They stated that the NHA and both the Aquino and Duterte administration are culpable for this predicament. The group also announced a massive protest at the gates of the NHA and Malacanang on the 24th, the anniversary of the Urban Development Act which they say has enabled the anti-poor, mafia type practices of the agency.
“Walang pagbabago sa ilalim ni Duterte para sa mga maralita. The government’s socialized housing program is a billion peso cash cow the NHA has been milking throughout the Aquino’s administration; something that remains unchanged under the new regime. The cost of land development and housing construction is forcefully passed to poor Filipinos plus a profit mark up. They treat public housing like they are developing private subdivisions. Clearly this is an unworkable framework which has led to thousands of idle homes, an issue which the government has yet to answer,” said Gloria “Ka Bea” Arellano.
The group cited the case of Bulacan resettlement sites wherein the cost of land and construction amount to around, P260, 000 on the average. Despite the token subsidy, beneficiaries are made to pay more or less 450,000. Meanwhile economists of the Ibon Foundation said that around 70% of the population lives under 2 dollars a day.
“Imagine aspiring to pay the full amount of amortization living on less than 2 dollars a day. It is ridiculous to think that these are the cheapest housing services afforded to the poor. In truth, these housing projects are only meant for those who can pay. However the agency has constantly failed to fill the homes with people because of high amortization and the dismal state of utilities and public facilities,” explained Arellano.
Arellano added “Kung may taong nakatira na doon, bakit ilang taon nang nakatiwangwang? Contrary to the rhetoric of the NHA, all poor and homeless Filipinos should be beneficiaries of mass housing. The reason they consistently shine light on beneficiaries in urban centers is that these are poor communities they want to demolish to put in more commercial projects. The NHA and the Duterte regime should be held accountable for upholding these injustices.”
KADAMAY cited the P65 billion Central Business District Project which is Public-Private Partnership joint venture of the NHA with the Ayala Corporation and the Quezon City Hall. The project will displace more than 15,000 families.
“The NHA also guarantees profits for all corporations involved in the construction of socialized housing; with or without occupants. More housing projects and more people relocated to these areas spells more profitable projects for the agency. Sindikatong naglalako ng proyekto ang NHA kasabwat ang maraming korporasyon, habang paparami ang maralitang walang tahanan,” explained Arellano.
KADAMAY also condemned how the NHA has been scrambling to look for beneficiaries in communities across Metro Manila. “To fill in the housing of Bulacan and to discredit the occupation, the NHA has been scrambling to look for poor Filipinos who can act as beneficiaries and pay for the socialized housing they peddle, “said Arellano. ###