‘Halfway’ house for Negros ex-rebels ready for occupancy

‘Halfway’ house for Negros ex-rebels ready for occupancy

DUMAGUETE CITY – A new halfway house for former rebels of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros Oriental is ready for occupancy.

Former rebels may stay at the PHP5 million, one-story halfway house, which was officially turned over to the provincial government on Monday, while they are awaiting the benefits from the government.

The halfway house is funded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and located at the headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade at Camp Leon Kilat in Tanjay City.

It was not immediately known how many former rebels will occupy the house, which is divided into several units.

Undersecretary Angelito De Leon, recently appointed chairman of “Task Force Balik-Loob” of the Department of National Defense (DND), said in his message during the turnover program that the project will ramp up the government’s efforts to end the communist insurgency.

De Leon said the whole-of-nation approach under Executive Order No. 70 in addressing the insurgency has played a vital role in stamping out the decades-old rebellion.

“The inter-agency approach by which the government has addressed the insurgency is now bearing fruits,” he said, noting the collaboration of the provincial government, government agencies, and other partners and stakeholders.

He was hopeful that the project will be replicated in other areas that are still battling communist insurgency as it would encourage more NPA rebels to surrender and return to mainstream society.

Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Visayas Command, thanked the provincial government and its partners for the first-of-its- kind halfway house in Regions 6 and 7.

He said this project reflects the government’s sincerity in assisting former rebels who wish start new lives with their families.

DILG Region 7 Director Leocadio Trovela, meanwhile, said the house would provide temporary shelter to former rebels while they are undergoing the enrollment process of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“This will just serve as a holding area until the they are ready and equipped to find a new home and start their lives anew,” he said.

The management and operations of the halfway house will be the responsibility of the provincial government, through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office which will identify would-be occupants with the help of the Philippine Army. (PNA)

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