By GENALYN D. KABILING
President Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police to prevent the militant urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap from taking over government housing units following an attempt to occupy a project for policemen and soldiers in Rodriguez, Rizal last Wednesday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Kadamay members would face “full extent of the law” if they forcibly occupy another housing project intended for other beneficiaries.
“In the past, President allowed Kadamay to occupy government housing project intended for soldiers in Pandi. But if you will recall, the President said that would be the first and the last. Given this latest attempt, the President has given directives to the police that Kadamay should not be allowed to take over these housing units,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
Roque said the National Housing Authority has also been directed by the President to explain why the housing project remains idle and when they plan to give to intended beneficiaries.
Senators yesterday called on the Duterte administration to file the necessary charges against Kadamay members who tried to occupy the project.
“If they have transgressed our laws, they should be charged,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said.
Drilon said this is what happens when the government fails to enforce the rule of law. “As I have said earlier in relation to the spate of killings that we see, this is failure to enforce the rule of law. They get used to it if we neglect to implement the law.”
He said Kadamay probably saw their first invasion of a housing project – in Pandi, Bulacan – was a success and this emboldened them to launch a second one. “So we must enforce the rule of law. Whether you are rich or poor, everyone should be equal under the law,” he said.
Director General Oscar Alba-yalde, PNP chief, warned yesterday that Kadamay members face arrest for occupying government housing projects.
Albayalde said they are ready to assist the NHA in protecting government housing projects against illegal occupation.
“I don’t think that it is right to just occupy houses. Remember those houses were already either paid or that some policemen or soldiers have already paid a down payment for those units,” said Albayalde.
Around 500 Kadamay members stormed the project. The protesters claimed that the housing units have been idle for many years and should be given to the poor. Local policemen reportedly secured the area from the Kadamay members who were forced to retreat from their housing takeover.
Roque said no charges would be filed against Kadamay since its members failed to occupy the government housing units.
But he reminded Kadamay against taking the law into their own hands, saying they would be dealt with the full force of the law. (With a report from Hannah L. Torregoza and Aaron B. Recuenco)