MANILA - Some 55,000 houses built by the Aquino administration for low-salaried government workers and poor families remain unoccupied across the country, an official said Thursday.
The previous administration built around 72,000 housing units in total, but only 18,000 of these have been occupied. The rest remain vacant because the units were "poorly-constructed, cramped and far-flung," said National Housing Association (NHA) general manager Marcelino Escalada.
The NHA, he said, is addressing reports that some housing projects also lack power and water lines.
Among the NHA's projects is a housing site for soldiers and policemen in Rodriguez, Rizal.
Members of the Kadamay urban poor group on Wednesday tried but failed to take over allegedly unoccupied houses there.
All houses in the area have been awarded to intended beneficiaries who applied for the housing after NHA allowed them to avail and merge 2 units, said Escalada.
"That is practically a violation of law if and when Kadamay members will continue to occupy that without any authority at all," he told radio DZMM.
Kadamay last year also laid claim to vacant units in resettlement sites in Pandi, Bulacan, including those intended for government troops.
President Rodrigo Duterte later promised to build better houses for the uniformed men as he ordered them to let Kadamay members have the Pandi houses.
Some Kadamay members, however, may be evicted from the site for refusing to undergo a documentation process to determine if they are qualified to get the housing units, Escalada said.
"Kailangan ng documentation kasi pangit naman na nandoon sila sa site natin, we really don't know kung sino ang occupants ng site natin," he said.
(The documentation is necessary because it does no do well for us not to know who are the occupants of our site.)