WILL Pandi be the same again after the Kadamay invasion?
The town and its barangays (villages) used to be peaceful until Kadamay members invaded the housing projects of the National Housing Authority.
Personally, I don’t have the answer. All I know is that Kadamay members, who could only be professional squatters, now known as “informal settlers” for political correctness, had invaded NHA’s various housing projects in Pandi, and, in the process, evicted their fellow poor from the houses that the government had built for them.
As news had it, these houses were meant for the soldiers. As the saying goes, send the marines. In this particular case, why not send the soldiers to force out the invaders?
A Pandi native
In connection with Due Diligencer’s piece about Pandi, an email sender reacted to it. She said she is from one of the 22 barangays of the town.
Firstly, Tams Laborte thanked me for the column titled “Pandi is a quiet town until ‘Kadamay invasion,’” which appeared on Monday. She also wrote:
“I was born in Mapulang Lupa, the specific barangay where the entrances to these NHA projects are located.
“For the last five years, without our knowledge, we saw private forests bought and transformed into housing for the poor. When finally they were finished, occupants were few because electricity and water were not available. The newcomers were mostly from Metro Manila.
“Most of the people in Pandi are ‘landed’ if there is such a term. So there were only a handful who applied to get their own house. The Kapitan de Barangay had strict requirements.
“These NHA projects were guarded at the entrances. However, the boundaries in some parts are open.
“My family, who lives closest to the site, said that at 2 a.m. their sleep was disturbed because these Kadamay people attacked out of nowhere. The streets that were once lifeless were filled with people protesting.”
Thank you for reading The Manila Times and for including Due Diligencer in your daily reading habit.
I wrote “Pandi is a quiet town until Kadamay invasion” for a sentimental reason. My maternal and paternal grandparents were from Manatal, one of the 22 barrios, now barangay, of Pandi, Bulacan.
It is gratifying to know that two kababayans from Pandi read The Manila Times. Renato Marcelo emailed me on Jan. 9, 2017 his reactions to my piece about the “baptism of fire” of Gregorio del Pilar who was wounded while protecting Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo from the pursuing Spanish soldiers. He said his late father was a farmer in Pasong Kalabaw.
Most of Pandi is rural and most of the townsfolk are farmers. The late Ferdinand E. Marcos was even photographed many years ago while planting rice with one of them at Barangay Bunsuran. This was one of the photos included in a private collection. Another photo showed Marcos eating hito (catfish).
I know those photos existed then because I saw them myself. They were shown to me by the engineer who took them. My only regret today is I could not recall the engineer’s name.
Kadamay invasion, again
Anyway, let me go back to the Kadamay invasion.
In her email, Laborte wrote that her parents live in a house nearest to NHA’s housing project in Mapulang Lupa that was invaded by Kadamay members. The question now is, could she still go home without fear of the invaders?
While the poorest of the poor deserve public sympathy, Kadamay members should not have resorted to forcible entry into private homes. They should have also known that they are not the only homeless among the more than 100 million Filipinos.
As a matter of fact, the Kadamay leaders who claim to fight for the poor could be better off than others because they could afford to pay their way to Pandi. How did they reach the town’s remote barangays if they did not have money to finance the journey?
Kadamay was even able to organize protest rallies in front of the US embassy. If they could do this, its members could not be said to belong to the poorest of the poor.
It is already bad when the poor are being used for political propaganda. It is even worse for Kadamay to appear to be only pretending to be fighting for them.
Kadamay, its leaders claim, is an acronym that stands for Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap. Really? For the answer, Due Diligencer needs further research.