"Storm" over a so-called quiet town
(Notes on the recent occupation of mass housing projects in Bulacan)
At first, people describe the action taken days ago as chaos provoking, anarchistic in a sense that these urban poor dwellers took their matters in their hands instead of pursuing long talks with the government, as they all start occupying, or rather say expropriating a government-built village project that is still left unhinhabited in the towns of Pandi and San Jose Del Monte in the Province of Bulacan.
These poor folks, or most people described as squatters or even lumpens, are all came from Metro Manila in search of a decent housing, livelihood, and a fair share of welfare as any other working class folks alike; only to have them require papers with authorities trying to sort who deserves and who deserves not the house such as those situated in those sites,
But still, in spite of that, it is undeniable that many Filipinos are rather forced to live in the streets if not forced to remain in their stanties all due to the great imbalance of their income-payables ratio, of their earnings and of low purchase to buy essential goods ranging from noodles to soap; and in this line of thought, people cannot afford to let those housing projects rot for years or even decades, as many of these people are rather sleeping on the sidewalks or in the plaza, while the money being used to construct these housing projects by the state are came from what they call "informal settler fund."
Come to think of this, as these housing units particularly situated in Pandi, Bulacan are rather covered with vines and foliage, that obviously shows it was being abandoned, that somehow made poor folks occupy knowing that they aren't even settled not even one family before them. However, the National Housing Authority insist that these houses, no matter how it is shown as abandoned and full of vines and foliage are already allocated and they are just waiting for the occupants to come in and stay in the units.
But who? Besides the soldiers and policemen whom the authorities afforded to say earlier just to justify that there are claimants in that almost forested village?
Anyway, perhaps one would say that some people, especially those from the government and in the private sector are so used to seeing the poor unorganized and just doing what they are told to do, noticing them come during electoral period, and comfortably (and sometimes not) seeing them as indigents, mendicants, savage fools mooching around crying for help if not liable for crimes ranging from thievery, prostitution, to those of drug abuse.
But in seeing them this time organised and assertive seems to be as if making their world upsidedown as they took over an abandoned site such as a housing project. Critics would cry illegality simply because they occupy the entire area illegaly if not disturbing the peace in a so-called quiet town by those coming from Metro Manila! Or worse, the usual red scares, red baits, seeing red on these poor yet organised folks clamouring for peace, land, bread, homes, justice!
Few years ago, the pope once said that everyone should not get used to seeing poverty, of learning to weep as possible, and few decades ago the late dictator Marcos quoted for the sake of impressing masses of what kind of democracy the Philippines has if it is not for the poor? And contrary to most statements babbled much by the authorities, having a house will not salvage these poor folks from poverty no matter how finely built yet deprived of livelihood; maybe ending contractualization, providing free education, health, social welfare, and providing the people sustainable sources of livelihood will. But in this current seting? Not even enough especially if the reason to "provide social justice" is merely to stop people from revolting further.
Now, on the topic of legality, legal processes, and "putting matters in an orderly manner" by those so-called "legalists", for sure it is easier to say and done the idea of punishing these poor folks simply because of occupying a disputed lot, babbling words like "Dura Lex Sed Lex" most of the time as the basis of a so-called "legal means" and of harassing them "in the name of the law. The current head of state who once declared that "there will be no demolition without proper relocation" this time cried "anarchy" and calling for police action against these poor folks as if they did an unjust crime like murder or drug abuse. Truly, madly, and deeply ingrained in their minds indeed if the state frankly call them "lumpens" and just impose punishments out of their poverty.
But come to think of this, since the law is harsh but it is the law, isn’t that laws are also made to benefit the public, being the highest form of law (as the quote goes "Salus Populi Suprema Lex"), and not those who want to make profit from state projects? Remember, if the present administration tries to curb down corruption and put trust in the bureaucracy, then now is the time for the state to prove that they are on the people’s side particularly those of the poor;
and to think that this post may likely to be described as advocating senseless aggression, if not violence against the state as they piss off those from the NHA and other institutions concerning housing, sorry to say but these poor folks are there simply because they are poor and they need a house to stay, preferably free, if not a house that is affordable enough, in which they can pay with their meager wages.
Anyway, in spite all the bullshits, that issue is a socio-economic dilemma with people, driven by their clamour for housing are rather making it straightforward by occupying idle housing projects. Obviously, it is just a symptom of a more dismal social illness, as if a volcano that waiting to be erupted.
Or truly it is, a social volcano waiting to be erupted! Change is truly coming!