Bulacan officials want Kadamay members to be ‘productive citizens’

PANDI, Bulacan — Local Officials here have agreed to the plans of the Department of Labor and Employement to provide jobs for the members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Maralita (Kadamay) who have occupied more than 5,000 housing units of the National Housing Authority in 5 resettlement areas here since March 8.

It will be recalled the NHA issued a notice of eviction to the militant urban poor group but President Rodrigo Duterte requested the military and police who are rightful recipients to give way to the Kadamay group saying “their only sin is being poor.”

But Pandi officials and residents said they want the ”invasion” into their town of the Kadamay to become productive instead of becoming a big headache.

Mayor Celstino Marquez said while they are left with no choice but to embrace and accept them as new fellow town folks, they have a choice whether to be a problem or be responsible citizens that could spur bring development in their town.

Marquez said they need to provide jobs to feed their families and that it can only be attained through job opportunities to be brought by investors and interventions from national government agencies.

But the mayor said the investors and businessmen would only come through goad roads and links to progressive towns and highways.

“Tanggap na rin namin sila, pero bigyan dapat ng social services at pagkakatian sa pamamagitan ng trabaho. Mangyayari lang yan kung may mga kumpanya ng nesgoyo dito dahil maganda na ang daan,” the mayor told Inquirer on Friday.

“We don’t need livelihood training here, what we need is job, more jobs and work opportunities. Saan gagamitin ang livelihood training na ituturo nila kung wala namang work na aaplayan,” the mayor pointed out.

He said they are now pushing for the national government to connect their town to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) through the Plaridel Bypass road through the industrial site in Barangay Bagbaguin.

The road connector will be called Pandi Bypass road which will run 9 km connecting Pandi to Plaridel Bypass to the NLEX.

The mayor also laments the damaged roads wrought by big equipment when the 11 government housing projects were being constructed. “Nasira ang mga kalsada dahil halos lahat ng barangay ay dinaanan ng malalaking equipment nung ginagawa ang mga pabahay na iyan,” the mayor added.

The proposal for such road connector is already in the regional level and they wished that this will be fast-tracked.

Marquez said the former 48,000 population of Pandi had bloated to as high as 170,000 today because of the 11 government relocation sites built in the recent years.

The town has only P189-Million Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) which 60% of this goes for the salaries of the municipal employees and leaves only a smaller percentage for the social services.

The mayor said the town has only 2 ambulance with only one working, two fire trucks, only one is also working and only one garbage truck.
Gloria Arellano, chairperson of the Kadamay said the houses occupied by the Kadamay last March 8 should all be free because their members have no jobs and income to pay for the houses.

Pandi, known producer and major supplier of ‘barong tagalo’g and ‘baro’t saya’ and other gowns in Divisoria, Baclaran and even malls and are also makers of signature office polo wears had been employing many residents including Kadamay members.

However, job opportunities remain insufficient for the many residents particularly the still jobless Kadamay members. –EMIL G. GAMOS