Migrante International condemned in strongest terms the violent dispersal of homeless and urban poor folk led by Kadamay who trooped to the main office of the National Housing Authority (NHA) yesterday to set-up what it dubbed “Homeless Camp”.
Eight months after the #OccupyPabahay movement in Pandi, Bulacan, tens of thousands are still homeless despite a Joint Resolution by the Senate and Congress ordering the NHA to immediately allocate vacant and idled AFP/PNP housing to the homeless, priority of whom are Kadamay members who led the Occupy movement.
Yesterday’s violent dispersal by the Philippine National Police (PNP) resulted in the arrest of a Migrante member and injury to scores of others. Arrested by the police was Paul Reyes, a member of Migrante’s campaign staff. He is being charged with four cases: malicious mischief, violation of BP 880, concealment of name and direct assault. He is currently detained at PNP Station 9 in Quezon City. Migrante is mulling filing counter-charges agains the PNP, as Reyes is severely injured due to police beating and mauling during the violent dispersal.
Migrante International fully supports the call for decent and affordable public housing for the poor.
“Majority of OFW families come from impoverished families of workers and peasants. Like the urban poor, OFWs also suffer from depressed wages, contractualization and absence of adequate shelter and basic social services such as public housing. These are factors that drive our Filipino workers away to seek better-paying jobs abroad. The #OccupyPabahay movement launched by Kadamay last March served as an inspiration to OFWs and testament to the correctness and strength of unity and collective action to secure the people’s rights and demands. That the poor and the homeless remain steadfast despite harassment and threat of state fascism is proof of the US-Duterte government’s continuous neglect of the poor,” said Arman Hernando, Migrante International spokesperson.
Hernando said that yesterday’s violent dispersal, the continuing harassment and persecution of activist leaders and organizations and the legal opposition, extrajudicial killings, the recent cancellation of talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF, and threats of a “crackdown” on the legal democratic movement are “clear and desperate” moves by Duterte to install himself as a fascist dictator like his idol Marcos.
“We vow to frustrate any and all moves by the US-Duterte regime to sabotage, belittle or suppress the ever-growing mass movement of the people. We are aware that Duterte is more than capable of creating scenarios for the declaration of nationwide martial law. We will not be intimidated. Should Duterte make good his threat to declare martial law nationwide, under the pretext of the installation of a so-called ‘revolutionary government’, we vow to be ever vigilant and continue with efforts to mobilize the broadest number of Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world to call for an end to his fascist rule,” Hernando said. ###