Issues in Kadamay takeover and Abu Sayyaf attacks
In the past couple of weeks, the Kadamay takeover of a housing project and the Abu Sayyaf’s forays have been the talk of the town.
Kadamay’s “aggression” highlights the bigger problems of homelessness and landlessness.
By landlessness, we are not talking about land ownership; we are talking about a person’s security of “tenure” on the land where he or she has erected his or her home. Any person and family without the right to be anywhere in their country is a cursed person—that is, cursed without cause. That is why landlessness has kept generation after generation of poor Filipinos just a notch higher above animals with no legal right to be anywhere.
Why would the landless occupy land from which they know they can be ejected because they have no legal right to be there? Out of what they can afford or out of scrap material, they will build temporary shelters—“houses” that they can readily dismantle or just leave behind should they be driven away from their homes, either by government or by private landowners. And without long-term or perpetual rights, there will be no motivation for them to build decent, permanent homes.
On the recent Abu Sayaaf attacks, one of those rattled a popular tourist spot and economic hub—at the same time exposing the military’s shortcomings in terms of timely intelligence, even though government eventually neutralized the raiders. One good thing about the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is that it is
realistic enough in addressing critical situations. The AFP chief, Gen. Eduardo Año, at least sees clearly the fatal flaw in this instant: The Philippines being an archipelagic nation, “we really need naval assets to conduct maritime security.”
Going back to the Kadamay’s occupation of a housing project, the problem seems to be a matter of money and implementation. President Duterte said he would build better houses for our soldiers and policemen who lost what would have been their homes to Kadamay members. But, really, in the end, it is a matter of justice, of human empathy and sympathy, of patriotism itself. Poverty should be a consequence of personal failure, not an inheritance. We have to support the government’s initiative to give these people decent homes.
Lastly, the government should always strive to prevent rebel groups from burning construction equipment and harassing businessmen. It is high time government officials and private firms stopped their corrupt practices. An organized community, feeling secure about its members’ occupation of the land on which they have built their homes, will always be an ideal, peaceful society.
KRISTAMEL E. NARVASA, [email protected]
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