The national democratic youth group Anakbayan salutes the masses of Filipino urban poor who, under the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), occupied over 6,000 abandoned vacant housing units in 6 relocation sites in Bulacan since March 8, 2017, International Working Women’s Day.

The Duterte government’s backing off from the forced eviction of the occupied households is a result of the militancy of the Kadamay members who held their ground to assert their rights to public housing amidst harassment and repression from state forces.

That 15,000 housing units in Bulacan have remained vacant and left to rot while bureaucrat capitalists in government deny access to mass public housing because to the urban poor whose only crime is their inability to pay for the high amortization of the said housing units.

Under the Duterte regime, a neoliberal profit-oriented approach to the housing question that has been enabled by the 25 year old Urban Development Housing Act, remain in place. Hence, rather than being given as a social service, housing projects have been contracted out to private companies that impose expensive fees on the poor.

No different from past adminsitrations, the Duterte regime’s recent threats of using force to evict the Occupy Bulacan movement is reminiscent of the longstanding state policy of violent demolitions against the urban poor.

The initial victory of the urban poor in Bulacan is a testament to the power of collective action. It is also a reminder of the need for continuing vigilance and determination to push with the struggle to the end.

The urban poor continue to bear the brunt of the anti-poor “war on drugs”, one particularly acute form of fascism against the people under the Duterte regime, which has victimized almost 8,000 suspected small-time drug users while big drug lords and drug protectors in the military, police, and bureaucracy remain unscathed.

Amidst the worsening crisis, poverty, injustices, and neoliberal and fascist attacks against the Filipino people, the youth are challenged to continue to link with the struggles of the Filipino masses of workers, farmers, urban poor, and national minorities.

To militantly assert the right to free public housing by occupying vacant public housing projects that have been left abandoned for years is not “anarchy”. To fight for one’s right against an unjust socio-economic system that deprives people decent jobs and wages, land, food, homes, education, etc. is justified.

 

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