PNP concerned with housing rights after Bulacan eviction called off

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) - While 24,000 urban poor group members get to stay in free housing until May 30, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is concerned the housing rights of policemen could be put at risk.

That's because the houses taken over by the urban poor group are part of a housing project for members of the police force.

The PNP said Tuesday, it hopes members of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) respect policemen's right to houses awarded to them in exchange for their years in service.

Kadamay members had taken over, and now live in the 5,918 resettlement houses in Pandi, Bulacan originally intended for low-income law enforcement units.

Read more: Authorities call off eviction of informal settlers in government housing

"We follow the process. Sinusunod po ng ating mga pulis ang mga requirements. At 'yung housing board dine-determine kung kwalipikado sila para mabigyan ng pabahay," PNP Spokesperson Dionardo Carlos said.

[Translation: We follow the process. Our policemen comply with the requirements. And the housing board determines if they're qualified to avail of housing.]

After a dialogue on Monday, the National Housing Authority and Kadamay came to an agreement that any unit left unclaimed after the May 30 deadline may be transferred to the informal settlers.

Out of the housing units in Pandi, Bulacan, 538 are awarded specifically to PNP personnel, with 50 already expressing their intent to live in their units.

No electricity, no water

The NHA previously said that some areas in the housing program do not have electricity and water yet because power providers previously required 70 percent occupancy rate before they provide power supply.

NHA Spokesperson Elsie Trinidad also said the houses are built without facilities to prevent stealing.

"The completion of the houses come in different stages, so you would find that some claim that these are lacking in facilities. People don't want to move in because there are no toilets, there are no windows, there are no doors; it was designed like that. We do not install these movable fixtures yet if there are no families because of pilferage," Trinidad claimed.

She also adds that the size of the house-40 square meters-is within legal boundaries.

"These were built for low-salaried, so in terms of the design it was also approved by the PNP housing board because bigger houses would mean bigger costs," Trinidad noted.

Last year, the NHA completed 1,848 out their annual goal of 9,128 houses (20 percent) dedicated to members of the PNP-AFP.

"The supply is so few, but the demand for housing is so great, so if you are given a task of relocating thousands, you have to spread your budget within the legal bounds," Trinidad said.