MANILA, Philippines – If months ago President Rodrigo Duterte gave leftist urban poor group Kadamay a free pass on government housing, this time, he warned them against repeating their occupation of houses.
Duterte gave the warning on Tuesday night, July 25, while speaking to families of soldiers and police slain in Marawi City, and said he would use violence against Kadamay members who again occupy government housing.
"Ngayon, itong mga Kadamay, alam ninyo iyan. Huwag ninyong ulitin ang ginawa ninyo. Nagwa-warning ako sa inyo (Now, this Kadamay, you know this. Don't repeat what you did. I'm warning you)," he said in Malacañang.
"Kung ulitin ninyo iyan at pipilitin ninyong papasok, ang order ko talaga, paalisin kayo sa puwersa. Either batutain kayo o 'pag lumaban kayo, ipagbabaril ko kayo," he added.
(If you repeat it and you force yourself in, my order will be to make you vacate by force. Either they'll clobber you or, if you fight, I'll tell them to shoot you.)
He took a markedly different tone from his speech in April when he appealed to soldiers and police, for whom the Bulacan housing units were intended, to just let Kadamay have them since they are poor. (READ: Occupy Bulacan: How the urban homeless won shelter)
He had said then: "I will ask you soldiers and policemen, bitawan 'nyo na lang 'yan, ibigay na lang natin sa kanila kasi mahirap sila (just let the units go, let's give it to them because they are poor)."
But in his Tuesday night speech, he warned Kadamay against using their poverty to create anarchy.
"Huwag ninyong gamitin 'yang pagka-pobre ninyo (Don't use your poverty) to create chaos," he said.
While leftist groups lauded Duterte's move to grant the Bulacan houses to Kadamay, he was criticized for seemingly vindicating their illegal occupation.
In exchange for the houses he gave to Kadamay, he told soldiers and police then that he would order new and improved housing be built for them. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.