Around 9,000 representatives of various urban poor organizations from all over Metro Manila on Saturday gathered at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City where they expressed their strong support to the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe.
During the gathering, the Broad Urban Poor Coalition (BUPC) and Poe signed a “Unity Statement” that upholds the right of the people to live in the city and adopts an in-city housing policy, among other other proposals that will ensure delivery of decent shelter to the urban poor.
In an interview, Blanda Martinez, BUPC chairman, said, “Sa lahat ng kumakandidato sa pagka-Presidente, si Grace Poe lamang and nakinig sa mga hinaing namin at isinama niya ang mga panukala naming sa kanyang agenda [Among the candidates for President, Grace Poe was the only one who listened to our grievances and included them in her agenda].”
Poe happily welcomed the support of the 9,000 representatives of 109 urban poor organizations, saying the agenda of the coalition is aligned with her platform especially when it comes to housing.
“Our tagline is walang maiiwan sa Gobyernong May Puso [no one is left behind in a Government with Heart]. The in-city housing policy is a clear manifestation of how we give importance to the right of the people to have affordable and decent homes inside the city, where they are closer to their jobs and basic services of the government,” the senator told the urban poor representatives.
“It is not fair that home ownership is only available to those in the higher income-levels. We should give adequate access for the people to achieve their dreams of having their own homes,” Poe said.
Martinez told reporters that they initiated the gathering “because all of the rallies are mostly political.”
“We wanted to have a rally and a platform where we can have a presidential candidate sit with us and give a commitment to legitimate and urgent issues such as provision of decent shelter to the poor,” she said.
Martinez added that the BUPC, supposedly the biggest alliance of urban poor organizations in the country, has bonded together to ensure the victory of Poe in the May 9 elections.
She said the coalition “strongly believes that Grace Poe is the only presidential candidate who will surely work for the needs of the poor people.”
Martinez cited the senator for vowing to end contractualizaton through job creation.
Data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that more than 35 million workers are employed as contractuals as of 2016.
These workers do not receive the daily minimum wage and get only a five-month contract.
The law requires workers to be regularized or terminated after six months of probationary employment.