21 October 2016 - Relocatees and government housing project beneficiaries today trooped to the National Housing Authority to call for an end to all evictions amid unaffordable housing amortizations, the lack of basic social services and jobs and highly questionable contracts with real estate developers.
“Gabriela Women’s Party joins the urban poor, relocatees and housing beneficiaries in asserting their rights to decent and affordable housing with basic social services, livelihood and jobs. Maling-mali ang nagiging kalakaran kung saan basta-basta nalang dinedemolis at itinataboy ang mga maralitang lungsod mula sa mga tinaguriang danger zones patungo sa mga lugar na higit na peligroso o maituturing pa ngang death zones,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas
The Gabriela solon accompanied housing beneficiaries in a dialogue with National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council officials.
The women’s partylist group particularly raised concern at the housing agencies’ failure to address demands of residents of Katuparan-Vitas Housing project in Tondo Manila and Northville 3 in Meycauayan and Marilao in Bulacan.
Resident-beneficiaries in Tondo, relocated mostly from Parola, San Andres and various communities in Manila since 1991 were forced to shoulder varying amounts of amortization payments way beyond their means, with penalty interest rates amounting to 12%. As a result, many of the Vitas Katuparan Housing Project residents are deep in debt, many amounting to hundreds of thousands to as high as a million pesos.
In 2014, these approximately 20 year-old apartment buildings were declared condemned after authorities failed to maintain and rehabilitate these housing projects.
In Meycauayan and Marialo Bulacan, residents of Northville 3 complained their homes were made of substandard materials with GI sheets that can easily be cut by school scissors. Residents, despite having no jobs or livelihood are forced to pay amortizations in full alongside utility bills.
“When water or electricity are cut due to delayed payments, these will not be restored unless amortizations are paid in full. And because residents fear eviction, many have resorted to pawning or even selling their rights to these housing projects. It is estimated that 40-50% of awardees have already left.”
Brosas further said that the real estate developers have been earning huge profits at the expense for the urban poor. “We hope that the government’s shelter agencies find it in their hearts to address the plight of the urban poor relocatees. We join the relocatees and the urban poor in calling for an end to all evictions and asserting their right to decent housing with social services, jobs and livelihood.”