March 15, 2011
Some 500 residents of Dasmarinas, Cavite marched to call the attention of the local government for their demand of housing security. The marchers assembled at 7:00 a.m. in Sibol in Brgy. Sta Fe then arrived at the Dasmarinas city hall by 8:00 a.m.
“We ask Mayor Jennifer Barzaga to heed the demands of her constituents. Affordable and decent housing is a right that the government should guarantee. We hope that the call of these hundreds of residents of Dasmarinas does not fall on deaf ears,” stated Ramil Cangayao, chairperson of the Cavite chapter of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
The marchers had filed a request for an appointment today with Mayor Barzaga but did not receive a confirmation. The marchers came from residents of City Homes and also the community of Sibol.
The residents of City Homes are facing foreclosure due to the heavy debts incurred when their housing loans were transferred from government-owned National Home Mortgage Financing Corp. to a private financing firm. “Residents of City Homes are now saddled with debts that are more than the market value of their houses due to usurious interest and penalties. The transfer happened without the knowledge of the residents. It is like they were ambushed and now they risk losing their homes which they have partially paid for with hard-earned savings,” Cangayao explained.
Meanwhile the informal settlers of the depressed area of Sibol are asking the local government to expropriate the private land on which their houses are built. Cangayao said that “The city of Dasmarinas has the power to expropriate for the purpose of socialized housing through an ordinance. We are calling on Mayor Barzaga and the city council for the ordinance and budget appropriation in the interest of hundreds of families who have lived in Sibol for years already.”
The march comes on the heels of a protest last March 7 by old tenants in the nearby town of GMA, Cavite due to the threat of a demolition by the local government. The picket at the weekly flag ceremony in the GMA municipal hall caught the attention of some councilors who promised to look in the demand for decent relocation.
PM together with Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino and Samahang Nagkakaisa ng Cavite have been campaigning for a moratorium on demolitions and foreclosures. The groups are involved in the consultations being held by the cabinet level task force headed by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo with the mandate to formulate and recommend policy resolutions on the housing issues confronting the urban poor.