THE forced occupation of more than 5,000 government housing units in Pandi in Bulacan province by members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) does not only set a bad precedent but could also have national security implications, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th said on Sunday.
Trillanes viewed Kadamay illegally occupying the housing units intended for police and military personnel as a national security concern as he cited intelligence reports showing that the organization is a front of communist groups.
“Aside from setting a bad and dangerous precedent, the decision to allow the members of Kadamay to occupy an entire community has national security implications since intelligence reports suggest that Kadamay is a front organization of the communist groups,” he said.
The senator claimed receiving information that some members of the Duterte Cabinet involved in administering government housing units allegedly have links to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
|Trillanes named the Secretary to the Cabinet and chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Leoncio Evasco Jr., who was reportedly elected as CPP Central Committee member in the 8th Central Committee Plenum (1981) in Mount Susung Dalaga in the Bicol Region.
National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. was reportedly a full member of the CPP while Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chief James Mark Terry Ridon was elected as CPP Central Committee member in the 13th Central Committee Plenum (2012) in Quezon City.
“If said reports are true, the wholesale takeover of several communities by Kadamay may mean the creation of sanctuaries for communist groups in Bulacan, which is strategically located near the National Capital Region [NCR or Metro Manila],” Trillanes said.
In light of the information, he filed Senate Resolution 345, which seeks an inquiry into the forced occupation of housing units by Kadamay, including the national security implications of the takeover.
Trillanes raised the need to enact a remedial legislation to ensure that use of force and violence would not be duplicated in the future by groups seeking housing assistance from the government.
The Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement Committee has started investigating the issue and is scheduled to inspect the housing project in Pandi on Tuesday.
The inspection will include a brief presentation by the National Housing Authority’s Central Luzon representatives and a meeting between Pandi local government officials and leaders of Pandi Homeowners Association.
The committee had learned that of the total 66,184 housing units constructed by the government for military and police personnel in 2013, only 8,240 had been occupied, leaving 55,124 units idle.
This is because most of the beneficiaries found the housing units, built by the government without first consulting them, not liveable.
The housing sites also do not have access to basic utilities like electricity and potable water and to schools and health centers.