Some 600 members of the leftist Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) urban poor group on Monday refused to vacate housing units they have occupied, particularly in Pandi Heights 3, saying they are willing to die if necessary to fight for their right to shelter.
The illegal occupants braved the heat of the noonday sun as they fortified their crude barricade they have been manning since March 8 and reiterated they will stay even if the National Housing Authority (NHA) or any government agency serves the Notice of Eviction on them as scheduled also on Monday.
The only entrance to the housing unit in Atlantic Village, which is adjacent to other occupied housing units in NHA Village Heights II in Barangay Mapulang Lupa here, is a small opening at the barricade made up of steel bars and wooden planks and guarded by hundreds of ID-wearing Kadamay members who form the security of the urban poor group.
At 4:20 p.m., NHA personnel arrived at Villa Elise Housing Project in Barangay Masuso but no one from the Kadamay members was willing to receive the Notice of Eviction.
Instead, the notices were posted at the doors of 275 housing units being occupied by the urban poor group.
The NHA staff said they will continue to serve the notices to occupants in all units in various housing projects occupied by Kadamay members.
Norman dela Cruz, who claims to be one of the security details at the Atlantic resettlement area where 1,200 housing units have been occupied since March 8, said their leaders headed by Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairman, and Carlito Badion, Kadamay secretary general, who were in a meeting with officials of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) have instructed them not to let anybody, except Kadamay members, enter the premises of Pandi Heights 3.
Before 2 p.m., dela Cruz and other Kadamay members allowed a 10-member team from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from the national and regional offices inside the barricaded Atlantic resettlement site.
A member of the DSWD team who requested not to be named said they were there to assist the “invaders” because of their poor and unsanitary living conditions at the occupied government housing units.
The six NHA housing projects that Kadamay occupied are Villa Elise, Villa Lois in Barangay Siling Bata, Pandi Resident 3 in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, Padre Pio Housing Project and Pandi Heights I and Pandi Heights II in Barangay Cacarong Bata.
Meanwhile, situation at the government resettlement site in Villa Elise was peaceful despite the presence of bullet-proof clad and heavily armed policemen from Bulacan Police’s SWAT Team, Police Provincial Safety Company and Pandi Police.
Unlike in Atlantic Village and NHA Heights II, there were no barricades in the occupied parts of Villa Elise.
Marissa Palomeno, a Kadamay leader in Villa Elise, said they know that NHA officials will serve the notice of eviction to them anytime on Monday but they did not put up any barricade because they do not want trouble to erupt.