MANILA—Homeless Filipinos will get a chance to have their own houses should PDP-LABAN standard bearer and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte win in the forthcoming May 9 elections.
This will be made possible as Duterte vowed to provide socialized housing for Filipinos who were not fortunate enough to have their own dwellings.
However, Duterte will not condone illegal settlers, especially those with connections to land-grabbing syndicates, said PDP-LABAN spokesperson Atty. Paola Alvarez.
She added that their standard bearer shall put a stop once and for all to those who, illegally and oftentimes by the use of force, take the land of others, including those owned by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“OFWs are the most vulnerable to the nefarious activities of illegal settlers with ties to syndicates according to reports and complaints reaching the office of Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III,” Alvarez stressed.
“Our OFWs work long years on foreign soil only to find out that the properties they’ve bought with money earned from their blood, sweat and tears had been taken over by illegal settlers,” she added.
Alvarez said that Sen. Pimentel, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, has emphasized that while all Filipinos must be afforded roofs over their heads, the same should not be accomplished by trampling on the rights of legitimate property owners.
Alvarez lamented that land-grabbing victims are ironically prevented by law, namely Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Housing Act of 1992, from getting back what is rightfully theirs.
A provision of the law, which stipulates that illegal settlers to one’s land cannot be removed unless government has provided them a relocation site, has been abused by so-called “professional squatters” to stay on land-grabbed properties.
“If Mayor Duterte and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, can reclaim our streets from criminals and drug fiends in three to six months, then there’s little doubt that land-grabbers have reasons to be afraid,” Alvarez disclosed.
“But Congress must work closely with the next administration to plug loopholes in laws that are being exploited by illegal settlers and land-grabbers,” she added.