Urban poor group Kadamay is earning notoriety as a group of property pirates after abusing the initial forbearing of President Rody Duterte in awarding to them a government housing project in Pandi, Bulacan that they seized in March last year.
The preferred housing projects of Kadamay for a takeover are unoccupied settlement for the police and the military.
The group tried to occupy last Wednesday a government housing project in Barangay San Isidro, Rodriguez town (formerly Montalban) intended for members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Recent reports stated the Kadamay chapter in Pandi has split into two groups, one willing to submit to government terms to own the houses they occupied while another wanted their units gratis.
Whatever is the Kadamay group, its members should be liable under the law for appropriation of government properties but they did escape prosecution since it was the President who interceded for them.
Later on, the Kadamay started complaining about the poorly-built housing units and lack of utility services such as water and electricity while most of its members insist the government owes them the housing units for free.
The group is brandishing Congressional Joint Resolution 2 which only provided the government speeds up the awarding of idle housing projects to poor Filipinos for each of the housing units Kadamay members occupy.
A silly excuse of the group is that it has volunteered under its so-called “Bantayang Bahay” campaign to guard the Montalban housing project which it expect to exercise its “rights” over these as a result of the congressional resolution.
Some Kadamay members, however, brought with them personal belongings such as kitchen utensils in the belief that they could occupy the housing units since one of their leaders claim the Rodriguez local government approved their “relocation.”
Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said some of their members have applied through the Rodriguez local government unit (LGU) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) for their own units.
Arellano claimed the housing project would be turned over to the LGU and awarded to them. She said Kadamay has taken the initiative to secure the property so that no unscrupulous person could take it over.
The NHA, however, said the Montalban housing units had been awarded.
Recently, reports also started reaching the Palace that some of the seized units are now being rented out or sold, indicating the occupants are not really in bad need of housing.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte did not intend the Kadamay to use the houses awarded to them for profit.
Also, Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 does not allow the sale or renting out houses awarded by government..
A National Housing Authority (NHA) video presented to the Palace showed a Kadamay member selling the unit he took hold of at P20,000 to P30,000.
“Masyadong sinusuwerte (they are stretching their luck)” is the usual reaction of an average Filipino who is also working to own a house over the recent Kadamay escapade in Montalban.
The danger with the group, which is left-leaning, is the tradeoffs given to members who are being fed with the hope of expropriating a house for their own.
There were rumors the communist movement is an active part in the Pandi, Bulacan takeover and the complex is now a hive for the urban component of the rebels.
Both Kadamay and the government should take stock of the situation since the government should guarantee rights of citizens who follow law and procedures in acquiring properties.
As for Kadamay, it should accept the age-old rule of human existence that nothing comes for free.