By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Amid the calls to “stay at home” and “work at home,” an urban poor group said thousands of Filipinos do not have roofs over their heads in the first place.
“If this government wants poor Filipinos to ‘stay at home,’ then it must ensure that they have proper homes in the first place,” Gloria Arellano, chairperson of urban poor group Kadamay, told Bulatlat.
There are at least 4.5 million homeless Filipinos, according to the Center for Women’s Resources 2020 report. At least 22.8 million, on the other hand, are residing in urban poor communities.
These urban poor communities, the CWR said, are also constantly threatened with demolitions and evictions “to make way for business centers, real estate and infrastructure development.”
Early this year, Kadamay launched a campaign that shed light to the issue of homelessness in the country. Socialized government housing projects, they said, continue to be haunted by reports of irregularities.
For one, at least half a million urban poor dwellers stand to lose their home under President Duterte’s massive infrastructure spending program dubbed as “Build Build Build.”
Read: ‘Build Build Build’ to leave Filipinos homeless, urban group says
Kadamay said that instead of providing much-needed medical assistance, the Duterte administration instead flaunted its military might in imposing a virtual lockdown in Metro Manila. On Monday evening, President Duterte has extended the community quarantine to the whole of Luzon.
“Instead of its militarist solutions, we call for a more apt medical solutions, coupled with due support to the people whose livelihoods are at risk,” Arellano said in a statement.
Various groups have earlier assailed the impacts of the virtual lockdown on the livelihoods of those in the informal sectors.
Kadamay called for social solidarity in these trying times.
Arellano said, “our unity and solidarity is important as we confront this crisis.”