MANILA, Philippines - Three groups held a protest outside the House of Representatives on Monday in time for the budget deliberations of the House Committee on Appropriations.
Urban poor group Kadamay and women's group Gabriela joined forces to condemn the P7 billion budget earmarked for housing. They said the budget is "too little" for the needs of the housing sector.
Kadamay believes the money will be spent on more demolition operations of urban poor communities.
"Masyadong maliit yung ganyang halaga para sa seryosong pagpapatupad ng isang housing project para sa mga nangangailangan," said spokesperson Paolo Quiza. "Kumpara sa budget ng military at sa perang napupunta sa pagbayad ng utang panlabas, talagang limos lang ito."
The budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for 2012 is pegged at P113.1 billion, while debt servicing is allocated some P738.6 billion.
Gabriela Women's Party Representative Luz Ilagan, who joined the protesters with fellow partylist representative Emmi de Jesus, stressed the need for in-city relocation for informal settlers.
"Ang relocation kakambal yan ng pagsisiguro ng kanilang hanapbuhay. Kapag itinapon natin sila sa ibang probinsya, para lang nating ipinapasa yung problema sa ibang lugar," Ilagan said.
Meanwhile, members of Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, also held a demonstration in congress to condemn the Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport Zone (APECO).
The groups said the project will only benefit the political clans in Aurora and not the poor.
KMP said the APECO will make possible foreign ownership and control of both land and off-shore assets, which may bode ill for farmers and fisherfolk.
A third group, the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), also trooped to Congress this morning.
FDC is calling on the representatives to remove from the national budget payment of 9 debts deemed "illegitimate" by the previous Congress.