Kadamay strikes anew

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Members claim being manipulated

The notorious house grabbers called Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) struck again yesterday after at least 500 Kadamay members forced their way into a housing project for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Barangay San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal and briefly occupied the area.

Members of the urban poor group, however, reportedly left the area after they failed to enter the housing units, as police officers on patrol intervened and warned Kadamay members that they will be charged with trespassing.

Kadamay also pulled off a similar stunt last year, as the group forcefully occupied vacant housing units in Pandi, Bulacan.

President Rodrigo Duterte later on ordered the government to give the vacant units to the urban poor organization.

Kadamay’s activities were, however, tainted as recent reports surfaced that some of its members are already fed up after accusing the group’s officials of manipulating them.
At least 300 Kadamay members, recently, broke their silence and brought into open the alleged corrupt practices of the pro-urban poor organization.

The group’s former members said they have had enough of being forced to join protest actions which were mostly aimed against the President.

But the worst part, they claimed, was that Kadamay officials have turned them into milking cows.

“Yung sinisingil po kami ng 150, 200, 300, makapag rally lang po. Hindi libre

kami pa po ang nagbabayad nun (We are being charged P150, P200, P300 to be part of a rally. Those are not free, we are the ones who had to pay),” Jeffrey Ariz, one of the leaders of a breakway group.

Initial reports said the intruders, who identified themselves as members of the urban poor organization, tried to occupy the empty housing units in the 1A area of the National Housing Authority (NHA) project at the La Solidaridad Estate Homes in Barangay San Isidro.

A former president of the Barangay San Isidro Homeowners Association said the group tried to enter another portion of the housing complex project called the 1B area a few weeks after successfully occupying a housing project in Pandi, Bulacan.

Kadamay held repeated takeover attempts

The earlier attempt failed after residents of the Rodriguez area who are former and active members of the AFP and the PNP barred them from entering.

The alleged Kadamay members were able to enter the 1A area yesterday because all of the units were unoccupied.

With Kadamay in the attempt to take over the housing units were members of the Montalban Homeless Alliance (MHA), who are urging the NHA to give the units to MHA members who are living in landfills in Montalban.

“Isang taon na kaming mga homeless dito at lumalapit sa NHA at sa LGU para makipag-diyalogo pero kahit ngayo’y may batas na para patirhan ang mga tiwangwang na pabahay na ito, wala silang tugon (We have been homeless for one year and had sought to dialog with the NHA and the local government unit (LGU) but despite a law to distribute unoccupied housing projects, they have not entertained us),” Lilybeth Gelit, spokesperson for MHA, said.

The Kadamay-Pandi, Bulacan chapter denied Ariz’s allegations, saying he was stripped of being a Kadamay official after he was caught acting as an “agent” in the illegal sale of vacant housing units in Pandi.

“Hindi tinotolerate ng organisasyong Kadamay ang ganitong mga taong nagtitiwalag at nilalabag ang batas (Kadamay does not tolerate those who break off from the group while violating the law),” said Kadamay-Pandi, Bulacan chairperson Pat Tupas.

The Kadamay also belied reports of the faction numbering to 300, saying the group only lost 20 members due to a “small organizational matter” involving the frustrated former leader.

Split blamed on expelled leader

In an earlier statement, Kadamay blamed the split in its organization to Ariz, an “expelled” local leader who “raised serious allegations against Kadamay mainly concerning the handling of its members in the occupied houses.”

It alleged that Ariz’s “frustration with the entire process of gaining entry passes for the occupied areas” has prompted him to “conspire” with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to “discredit” Kadamay.

Still, Kadamay said the accusations have failed to convince “tens of thousands” of its members in Pandi, Bulacan, to leave the group.

“All in all this is still a small organizational matter. If these accusations were really as harmful and widespread as he claims then why haven’t the tens of thousands of members of Kadamay in Pandi and nationwide already jumped ship?” it said.

“At its core, the around 20 members (not 300 as erroneously reported) who have joined Ariz in slandering Kadamay, still represent the dissatisfaction with the current housing schemes that Kadamay is pushing to change,” it added.

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