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Urban Poor Leaders Storm Malacanang, Demand P50 Billion for Mass Housing

Urban Poor Leaders from Kilos-Maralita surprised Malacanang when they staged a lightning rally today, demanding 50 billion pesos for humane and affordable mass housing as part of the 330 billion peso stimulus plan. The group stormed Gate 7 of Malacańang carrying banners calling on the government to allocate funds for mass housing as Social Protection for the country’s poor from the economic crisis .

Kilos Maralita, a broad urban poor coalition with almost 300 members organizations nationwide also called for the amendment of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (RA 7279). The Housing Act is commemorating its 17 years of existence.

“UDHA failed to protect the poor. Our proposal is to amend UDHA or scrap it and enact Magna Carta for the Poor. Also, prioritizing housing for the poor in this time of crisis by allocating 50 billion pesos to humane and affordable mass housing would show true commitment to the welfare of the poor,” said Nestor Yaranon, a Coordinating Council member of Kilos-Maralita.” Housing contributes 16x multiplier effect in the economy compared to road construction which has only around 2.2x. A 50 billion peso allocation for socialized housing will amount to 800 billion peso contribution to economic activity of the country. Thus, constructing houses will stimulate our economy more than constructing roads,” Yaranon added.

According to official data there is currently a housing need of 3,756,072. Urban poor population nationwide is estimated at 20 million people.

The Palace security was caught off-guard prompting the police to close the entry-way going to Gate 7 and barricading Mendiola. Kilos Maralita leaders were prevented from entering the Gate 7 and were pushed out of Mendiola. The group continued their rally at the foot of the Don Chino Roces bridge.

Noel Cano, another coordinating council member of the urban poor coalition, declared “Now is the best time for GMA to listen to the people’s need for social protection. She should heed to the people’s demand instead of pushing us away like the way they pushed us today, and to start with there should be a moratorium on demolition. If houses will not be built for us, don’t destroy what we have.”

Cano added, “the absence of housing measures in the government’s stimulus plan is a manifestation of the regime’s insensitivity to the plight of the poor”.

Kilos Maralita unveiled its proposed social protection package last week in a forum with Governor Joey Salceda of Albay concurrently GMA’s economic adviser. The package is an alteration of the government’s allocation of 330 billion pesos intended for infrastructure, temporary jobs, and cash handouts. It includes city housing program, labor based equipment support scheme to provide employment to the poor and reforms on conditional cash transfer program among others.

Press Release
March 28, 2009

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March 29, 2009 - Posted by | Activities with other networks, PRESS RELEASES/STATEMENTS

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