A new hope and a new home await former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in their return to mainstream society.
This after the National Housing Association (NHA) under the Duterte administration launched the Freedom Residences, a housing project nestled at Barangay Cuambogan, Tagum City in Davao del Norte.
Freedom Residences is considered the administration’s first-ever settlement project for ex-rebels.
The project is originally earmarked for the military and police personnel but due to the need to allocate housing units for FRs under Administrative Order No. 10 dated April 03, 2018, the NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. recommended for the re-allocation of the housing units which the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)/Philippine National Police (PNP) Housing Boards waived their rights to in favor of NPA surrenderees.
“We want to consolidate all of them together and bring new life and new beginnings for the FRs,” Escalada said, adding that they will also explore in the areas of Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City which they believe the hotspot of the rebels.
The three-hectare housing project, however, will be able to provide homes for 375 families. 300 units will be allocated for the rebels while the 75 units are for the AFP/PNP personnel.
Each housing unit costs P450, 000, with a floor area of 33 square meters that goes with a loft and an extra 7-square meter laundry area.
Last Friday, February 1, Lieutenant General Alberto Macairog, commanding general of the Philippine Army (CGPA) spearheaded inspection of the completed housing units in Barangay Caumbogan.
“Napaka importante ng project na ito dahil nagawa natin silang (FRs) bumalik sa gobyerno at ngayon kasama na natin sila. Nakita din natin pagbibigay ng mga sundalo at ng mga pulis yung dapat na para sa kanila ay binigay nila sa mga nagbabalik loob nating kababayan,” Macairog, who lauded the NHA spearheaded by Escalada.
Meantime, 50 of the 375 prospected units are ready for occupancy and will be turned over to the qualified FRs who were fully evaluated by the government through the Expanded-Comprehensive Local Evaluation Program (e-CLIP).
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will personally turn over the finished housing units to 31 qualified FRs this month.