Tuesday, October 26, 2004

NR1025:Junk RA9207 or NGC Housing Act

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 25, 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

Urban poor decry joblessness, demolitions and lack of services under GMA
administration; demand repeal of National Government Center (NGC) Act RA

Urban poor residents in Quezon City, most particularly those living in the
National Government Center (NGC) today held a big protest in front of Congress
demanding the immediate repeal of RA 9207 or the National Government Center
(NGC) Act. Members various housing associations in the NGC and members of the
Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) national urban poor organization
trooped to Congress today to support Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran's HB 2800
repealing RA9207. They said that the Arroyo government's NGC Housing Projects
will benefit only few urban poor residents while destroying the homes of
thousands of others.

The NGC is composed of five barangays: Brgy. Holy Spirit, Brgy. Commonwealth,
Brgy. Payatas A, Brgy. Payatas B, and Brgy. Batasan Hills. 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. RA 9207 was passed by the 12th Congress in year 2003.

Beltran criticized the Arroyo administration and its so-called urban poor
housing agencies to task for brutal demolitions, the latest of which wounded
urban poor dwellers when police units demolished shanties at the Payatas
dumpsite. Also recently, threats of demolitions have terrorized urban poor
communities at the Smokey Mountain mountain dumpsite in Tondo.

The ongoing Philippine National Railways (PNR) railroad modernization program
from Manila to Southern Tagalog and Bicol has also began, starting with the
violent demolition of urban poor dwellings near the railroad tracks in Caloocan
City. If left unchallenged, the Arroyo-approved PNR project will mean more
brutal demolitions and the dislocation of about 10 million urban poor dwellers
living along the PNR tracks.

He also castigated Arroyo for implementing a "sham mass housing program that
actually caters to the middle class and not the urban poor." The Community
Mortgage Program, Beltran explained, actually requires applicants to have jobs
in order to sustain the five-year rent and 25-year amortization periods.
"Thousands of unemployed Filipinos and their families will be permanently
homeless under the CMP. Even if some manage to avail of the CMP, the incessant
joblessness will finish off the prospect for renting and owning a small house,"
he said.

Addressing the urban poor's demand for government to recognize their right to
shelter, Beltran said that the free mass-housing projects for poorest Filipinos
should be implemented with funds from a no-nonsense anti-corruption drive and
from debt relief.

"Whoever says that free housing for the poor is utopian is mistaken. We have
sufficient funds but these are sapped by tax evasion and corruption and
non-productive expenses like debt servicing," he said. "The government's
failure to address the housing problem of the urban poor would continue to
cause their marginalization and rebellion against the status quo."

Beltran lamented that past and present mass-housing schemes of the government
have failed to address the problem because "the government has reached that
level when we sold houses to the jobless urban poor and they are sold on
installment basis at usurious rates."

A low-cost mass-housing unit at Montalban, Rizal costs P180,000 per unit. "This
may seem low but it is actually very expensive to our jobless urban poor.
Besides, no genuinely poor person would have that much money to get a house on
outright purchase."

"While the same house would be made available for a 25-year amortization term,
the usurious rates eventually become intolerable to the tenants who are not
provided stable employment opportunities. Under the so-called Community
Mortgage Program, their total monthly installments after 25 years would reach
as high as P400,000," said Beltran.

He said that "this usurious rates slapped on so-called mass-housing for the poor
partly explains why urban poor folk would rather bite the bullet and live under
bridges or beside esteros and even allow themselves to fall prey to squatter

Beltran also called for a moratorium on demolitions of their dwellings not
unless government and interested private sector entities come out with
practical responses to the issue of relocation.#


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