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                                                                                                           Ms. Ronadale Zapata



12 November 2005


The country’s housing problem should be spared from too much political bickering which often hinders important government programs that seek to uplift the plight of the people, especially the poor.


This was the emphatic message of Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro, also the concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) in a speech he delivered at the Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation, Inc.’s “An Evening with Friends of Habitat” at The Conservatory, Manila Peninsula in Makati City.


Vice President De Castro admitted that he was taken aback when some groups that are distrustful of the administration, dug up all sorts of anomalies and intrigues to derail major government projects.


Maraming magagandang proyekto ang pamahalaan ang naaantala dahil lamang sa labis na pamumulitika. Hindi man lang nila inisip na ang mga mamamayan mismo ang patuloy na naghihirap dahil sa matagal na pagpapatupad ng mga pagbabago at proyektong dapat na nilang tinatamasa.


In particular, the Vice President mentioned he saw this happen in North Rail, where their efforts to relocate some 40,000 families living in slums along the railway from Metro Manila to Pampanga were being opposed by some groups who even sought a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court. He saw no other reason for this other than politics.


Vice President De Castro was appalled to learn that these groups were led not by the slum-dwellers who stand to benefit from the relocation, but by outsiders. He later learned that majority of the north rail settlers have already volunteered for resettlement, yet these small groups who are sowing confusion and false hopes are getting much of the attention.


But the Vice President shifted to a more positive gear when he acknowledged the invaluable participation of a non-government, non-partisan group like Habitat for Humanity that is quietly and diligently spearheading housing projects in different parts of the country. With groups like Habitat for Humanity, he hoped that leaders from opposing sides of the political fence would be encouraged to stop throwing mud at each other, and instead use cement and concrete blocks of dedication and integrity to build strong houses of public service. 


To show gratitude to Habitat members, Vice President De Castro claimed that the national government is happy to play a supporting role to groups like the Habitat for Humanity, if it means providing safe and decent homes to poor Filipino families more quickly and efficiently.



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