SOCIALIZED HOUSING. Farah Gentuya, director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Negros Oriental, on Wednesday (Nov. 16, 2022) says the provincial government has allocated PHP60 million for the housing project for former rebels. The fund will be released in three annual tranches starting in 2023. (Photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The provincial government of Negros Oriental has allocated PHP60 million for the construction of housing units for former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Farah Gentuya, director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Negros Oriental, said Governor Roel Degamo, chair of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), approved the amount in principle during a meeting with project stakeholders on Wednesday.

“The plan will be officially presented to the PPOC meeting on Friday but in principle, it is already good as approved as this has been previously on the drawing board already,” she said.

Aside from Gentuya, also present during the meeting with the governor were Board Member Jessica Villanueva who chairs the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on peace and order, Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Brigade of the Philippine Army, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Kawayan Collective.

Kawayan Collective is a social enterprise based in the municipality of Dauin, about half an hour south of this city, that promotes the use of bamboo for houses as an alternative for low-cost housing projects.

The construction of housing units for former rebels (FRs), to be implemented in three years, is part of the whole-of-nation approach to ending insurgency through the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, Gentuya said.

The funding for the FRs will be taken from the PPOC and will be distributed at PHP20 million each year beginning in 2023, she noted.

“The first project will be at a government land identified by the DENR in Basay, comprising 30 units,” Gentuya said.

Currently, there are about 50 families of FRs who have been evaluated and are found to be qualified for the project. (PNA)