DUMAGUETE CITY – Negros Oriental Gov. Pryde Henry Teves on Wednesday said the provincial government is set to build 143 socialized housing units for surrendered members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) on a government property in Basay town.
During his regular weekly press briefing, Teves said they allocated PHP20 million this year for these facilities to be built by Kawayan Collective, a private entity that promotes the use of bamboo in house construction.
“Initially, when I met with the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, I said that if we are going to give these surrenderers a new life, I would rather want this to be permanent and stable,” Teves said in mixed English and Cebuano.
He said he asked the Department of Agrarian Reform in the province to look for land for this project with the former rebels as the beneficiaries.
"The beneficiaries will be given farm lots and home lots and it would now be easy for the Philippine Army to monitor them as they will be in just one community," he said.
Teves said as soon as the government land in Basay – the southernmost town of the province – is ready, construction of the houses can start.
The provincial government will send tractors to help the beneficiaries start tilling their farms, he added.
Teves is also looking at establishing another similar socialized housing for former rebels in the north of the province.
This will be the first such facility for rebel returnees in Negros that is funded by a local government unit, as other projects were established through the National Housing Authority.
Meanwhile, the governor also said his administration will support the proposed plan to establish transition houses for former CPP-NPA members who have surrendered and are awaiting their enrollment in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
The transition houses will be set up inside the camps of the 94th Infantry Battalion in Ayungon town and the 62IB in Guihulngan City, the Provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Negros Oriental Farah Gentuya said.
Gentuya said these will provide temporary shelter for the surrenders while they are undergoing reintegration into mainstream society. (PNA)