Continuing attacks against the urban poor in Pandi
Members of a group called “Pagkakaisa Mamamayan Tungo sa Kaayusan” ransacked the office of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, Pandi, Bulacan on September 9. After searching through the office, the group torched the properties of Kadamay and stole the belongings of its members including important documents.
The goons dubbed themselves “pro-Duterte” and “anti-Kadamay.” The said group was formed by state agents and is used to incite former Kadamay members to attack the community. Imposing authority, its members distribute entry passes bearing the name of the National Housing Authority. Elements of the 48th IB and PNP-Malolos, Angat and Pandi, under the command of a certain Placido, escorted and guarded the goons as they perpetrated the attack. The troopers have been in the community since September 4 and are intimidating residents. Kadamay leaders, Pat Tupaz and Obet Lunzaga, were threatened to be killed.
According to Kadamay, these incidents are part of the regime’s campaign to crush their organization and evict them from housing units they occupied in 2017. Since then, Kadamay has been subject to relentless vilification and attacks. The organization was tagged as a “communists front,” and intimated with gunshots. Last May, two of its members were illegally arrested.
Tactics employed by the regime in Pandi are no different to its maneuvers in Negros, Bukidnon, Davao and other areas wherein paramilitaries dubbed “anti-communist groups” are being employed by the AFP at PNP. The regime makes it appear that these groups are not linked with the state, even if these were actually formed and funded by it.
Even their legitimate demands for water and power services are denied them by concerned agencies. Simultaneously, the regime employs paid social media trolls to maliciously attack Pandi residents, most of whom are workers and semiproletariats. Amid brazen attacks to their livelihood, Kadamay members initiate livelihood programs, only to be undermined by higher power and water rates.
Kadamay members occupied the idle housing units after the conduct of unsucessful dialogues with the government to address their demands. Recently, even members of the group which perpetrated the ransacking also occupied idle housing units using the name of Kadamay. This only proves how intense the housing crisis of the urban poor sector is.