The government will build 300 houses for former rebels in Northern Samar within a 14.8-hectare lot donated by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) in Mondragon town.
The provincial government announced on March 29, 2021, it has an agreement with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to build houses for former fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) who have returned to the fold.
“We recently conducted a site inspection with two former NPA commanders. The housing location will really help our former rebels reintegrate into the community since it is near the main road and agricultural land,” Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan said in a statement on March 29.
The project is located on vacant property in Cablangan village, Mondragon town, some 31 kilometers from Catarman, the provincial capital.
PhilFIDA regional director Wilardo Sinahon said the agency’s move to donate the property manifests its commitment to end insurgency in the province.
The formal donation was done on March 25 during the enhanced comprehensive local integration program committee meeting at the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman town.
Allen Berbon, Northern Samar provincial information officer, said each house costs PHP450,000 will be jointly funded by the NHA and provincial government.
“The target is to complete the project before the end of 2021. We just have to complete some documentary requirements for housing construction to start,” Berbon said in a phone interview on March 29.
Northern Samar is considered to be NPA’s stronghold in Eastern Visayas due to poor road network, thick forest, high poverty incidence, and low level of education in upland communities.
The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)