QUEZON City, Philippines – Recently making the rounds in social media sites are funny and hilarious edits about the rally held by the Kadamay group. Netizens exercised their creativity in thinking up witty and comedic slogans for the group. But behind the wit and the humor, we have the feeling that the joke – as it is – is more than half-meant.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware, Kadamay stands for “Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap”. Kadamay is a group touting mutual support for the poor and the informal settlers. In March 2017, thousands of members of the group occupied an idle National Housing Authority residential project in Pandi, Bulacan.
The housing project was supposed to be given to the members of the Philippine National Police. As such, the NHA and other government authorities tried to evict the informal settlers but the group constructed barricades. Kadamay said that the occupation was made in protest of the Duterte’s administration failure to address the issue of housing, especially for the poor.
The NHA issued eviction notices, which the informal settlers immediately burned. They started picketing the NHA office in Quezon City, demanding that they be allowed to stay or keep the houses that they have occupied.
In order to preserve the peace, President Rodrigo Duterte allowed Kadamay to stay in the occupied units and promised the police and military personnel who were bereft of their promised housing that new housing projects will be completed by December. President Duterte also warned the Kadamay members to refrain from occupying other government housing units.
That would have been a perfect ending for this sorry saga but no, the Kadamay peeps want more.
On May 1, the Kadamay rallied in front of the Ombudsman, asking for jobs and livelihood.
That’s when the netizens exploded, posting their funny and hilarious slogans like “Libreng Wi-Fi and Cable”, “Libreng Sasakyan at Gasolina” and “Gawing Legal ang Katamaran,” to name a few.
Filipinos are well-known, notorious even, for using humor as coping mechanism and I think that, in this case, the netizens are really venting their anger and frustration against Kadamay.
And who wouldn’t be angry? Who wouldn’t be frustrated? To be fair, many Filipinos consider themselves poor but many of them also work hard and do their best so that they would survive. And even if we Filipinos like to avail of free stuff, still our norms dictate that we should know when we are stepping beyond the lines of human decency. I mean, you were already given a free house, a house that is not meant for you, and you are asking for free water and electricity as well. You are asking for a job and a livelihood? Basically, you – the epitome of Juan Tamad – want to sit around doing nothing, while the government provides for your every day needs.
I think everyone would agree that the notion is totally ridiculous.
Being poor does not give you a better right over your fellow Filipino citizens. The hardworking part of the population should not be made to shoulder the living expenses of those who are lazy.
Please be content with what you have already gained Kadamay, and stop asking for things that you don’t deserve.
(written by Jay Paul Carlos, additional research by Vince Alvin Villarin)