Tuesday, October 12, 2004

NR1012: Urban poor seeks VP de Castro's help

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 12 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Quezon City urban poor seeks Veep Noli de Castro's help to address housing
problem; ask his support against National Govenrment Center Act and its

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today lauded the efforts of
vice-president Noli de Castro to hear the grievances of the urban poor and
listen to their arguments against the National Government Center (NGC) Act or
Republic Act 9207 or the NGC Housing And Land Utilization Act of 2003. Beltran
has filed HB 2800 calling for the immediate repeal of the said law, saying that
it was anti-poor and causing the massive dislocation of thousands of Quezon City
residents within the scope of the NGC area composed of five barangays: Brgy.
Holy Spirit, Brgy. Commonwealth, Brgy. Payatas A, Brgy. Payatas B, and Brgy.
Batasan Hills.

Beltran said that the vice-president has already shown a measure of sincerity in
hearing out the demands of the urban poor when he instructed officers of the
NGC and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDDC) to
dialogue with Quezon City residents affected by the NGC's demolition
operations. He also said that the vice-president has also been approached for
his aasistance on how to fight housing syndicates that within the government
housing institutions that unscrupulously exploit the urban poor.

"Vice-president de Castro's efforts are worth noting. He was voted into office
by many urban poor residents who believed in his stands supporting and
defending the poor in the program "Magandang Gabi, Bayan" which he used to
host. It's to be hoped that the vice-president will carry the cause of the
poor and disenfranchised, and defend their right to decent, affordable
socialized housing and necessary social services," he said.

Beltran said that the housing crisis primarily results from the people's lack
of purchasing power to build or buy their own houses. Around 4.5 million
Filipinos are unemployed and among those considered employed are actually mere
unpaid family workers. In addition, at least 17.5% of the labor force is
underemployed. Those who are employed, on the other hand, still do not earn
enough to get access to housing since the current minimum wage is only P250
(NCR) while the daily cost of living is P552.96.

He pointed out that a glaring case of urban poor plight and the government's
negligence is what is happening to residents of the NGC. Alternately muddy and
cogon grass-choked, snake-infested, and with no electricity or water
facilities within the area except for a river and a deep well, the NGC used to
be a no-man's land. Through the years, however, NGC Payatas has become home to
thousands of families who have been driven from their own homes by the Marcos
dictatorship's military operations in the provinces.

"The people of NGC Payatas have occupied the area for almost 20 years now.
Through their efforts, the once uninhabitable place was transformed into a
community. While a large portion of the population became laborers and
quasi-laborers, some tilled the lands and planted root crops, vegetables and
fruit-bearing trees such as banana. Years passed and they shaped the place into
a full-blown community - with roads and streets, chapels, and markets. Today,
however, the people of NGC are in danger of losing their homes for the second
time, their homes. The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act
No. 9207 also known as the National Government Center Housing and Land
Utilization Act of 2003 requires the residents to enlist/apply as beneficiaries
of the government's NGCHP (National Government Center Housing Project) or they
will be forcefully evicted from their homes," he said.

Beltran urged Vice-president de Castro to take up the cudgels for the urban poor
of Quezon City and all homeless Filipinos and bat for higher budget allocations
for genuine socialized housing that takes into consideration the people's
capacity to pay, costs of living. "The profit-motive should be taken out of
the picture when it comes to providing for decent, livable houses for the
poor," he concluded. #


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