By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
After occupying government housing units intended for active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier this week at Purok Guanzon, J.J. Gonzaga in Barangay Felisa, Bacolod City, the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) informal settlers were ordered to vacate the area by the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO).
Following the occupation, the BCPO blocked both additional Kadamay members from joining the ongoing demonstration, along with the entry of food and water.
Kadamay-Negros Occidental Secretary-General Ereneo Luminos said the police blockade resulted in his group’s numbers reducing, claiming members left after growing hungry.
Meanwhile, the National Housing Authority (NHA) and officials from the city government invited the organization to meet at a local hotel; however, Luminos expressed hesitation as he believed they would not be permitted to return to the occupied residential area.
Bacolod City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran also reportedly visited the site and spoke with group leaders.
Last Thursday, informal settlers converged on the area and camped out in front of houses in the residential project, which is comprised of 1,498 homes across a 10-hectare area of land.
Luminos cited Joint Resolution No. 2, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last May, claiming informal settlers are entitled to unoccupied units constructed by the NHA.
A meeting between Kadamay, the PNP, and AFP is scheduled for next week./DGB, WDJ