Group cites urban poor’s bitter experience with Akbayan

A militant urban poor group has joined the word war between Akbayan and Anakbayan that boiled over on Tuesday, October 16,  when 5 members of Anakbayan stormed a press conference arranged by Akbayan in Orosa, Manila.

Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), in a statement, said Akbayan as a partylist group has never represented the marginalized sectors in the Philippine society. “Though pretending not to be, Akbayan is a hardcore lapdog of Malacanang and big businessmen,” the group said.

“In fact, Akbayan leaders in years had acted against the best interests of the marginalized sectors, and had only used the plight of the toiling masses, especially the peasant and the urban poor sectors to grab seats in the Congress and to be appointed in different positions within the government,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national secretary-general.

Fake advocacy

According to the group, the failure of Akbayan-sponsored CARPEr to effectively distribute the land to the landless Filipinos is not only a testament to the ‘fake advocacy’ of the partylist group, but also to its ‘betrayal of public interest’, especially of the marginalized sectors.

The group added, “Three years after its implementation, CARPEr, has acted as an instrument of landlords to legalize land grabbing and land use conversion, and to justify the brutal displacement of farmers.

“In so many cases, CARPEr has been a milking cow of the big landlords and most certainly its sponsors in the congress,” Arellano claimed.

Bitter experience

Kadamay also asked Akbayan to stop pretending to represent the urban poor as it cited some bitter experiences of the sector with the partylist group.

“Akbayan has a track record of conniving with the big businesses and the government in deceiving the urban poor to give up their homes. It has been consistent in its ‘No relocation, no demolition’ position, even as the governments resettlement program is proven to make the poor more impoverished,” said Arellano.

Kadamay cited a visit of its former Akbayan leader to an urban poor community in Quezon City as an example of the danger once an Akbayan leader has assumed a seat in the government

“In late 2011, Joel Rocamora attempted to settle the housing dispute in the North Triangle area in Quezon City. Using the office of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and the name of Akbayan, he offered the residents with a resettlement deal with a hefty sum of cash, which the residents later found out to be anomalous, and only to favor the immediate eviction of settlers to speed up the construction of an Ayala-funded business district in the area,” Arellano said.

“Akbayan position has always been consistent with the Palace, and most especially with the big foreign and local businessmen from whom they can get money to pay the urban poor in staging protest actions to prop up their pseudo-progressive facade,” she said.

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