TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday led the grant of housing units to former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and Militia ng Bayan, hoping active rebels will shun violence and will return to mainstream society.
During the awarding of shelters at the Freedom Residences, Bgy. Cuambogan, Tagum City, President Duterte said his administration has taken concrete measures in addressing the needs of the former rebels such as financial assistance, firearms remuneration, and grant of housing units.
Also part of Tuesday’s event was the demilitarization of turned-in-firearms under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The President hopes the program will help end the decades-old communist insurgency in the country.
The President explained that former rebels would receive decent and comfortable houses through the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) resettlement program, adding that the rebel returnees will be part of a community with accessible public market, health center, police station, and barangay hall.
He also pledged to put up a daycare center and schools for the children of former insurgents.
Addressing the surrenderers and housing units beneficiaries, the President urged them to convince active NPA members to come down from the mountains and return to the fold of the law for them to have more comfortable lives.
In order to maximize the opportunities of reintegrating into the mainstream society, President Duterte said he hopes the former rebels would be responsible, productive, and law-abiding citizens.
He also acknowledged the efforts of various stakeholders in the pursuit of “peaceful, inclusive, and holistic reforms” leading to the successful implementation of the housing program in Davao del Norte.
“I hope that today’s event will continue to encourage the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the Task Force Balik-Loob, and their local counterparts to work doubly hard in addressing the problems of insurgency so that our people can enjoy safer and more secure communities,” said President Duterte.
“As we come together and conduct the first demilitarization of surrendered firearms as part of the E-CLIP, let us take this occasion as a significant step towards ending unlawful violence and strengthening our commitment in implementing progressive reforms,” he added.
The Freedom Residences housing project in Tagum City aims to allocate housing units to former rebels with 375 families as beneficiaries. Currently, there are 60 completed housing units that are ready for occupancy.
Under the project, housing units will be awarded to qualified former rebels from Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte.
Originally earmarked for the military and police personnel, the National Housing Association, through Administrative Order No. 10, re-allocated the housing units of Freedom Residences to rebel returnees.
E-CLIP, on the other hand, is a government program that aims to provide a complete package of assistance to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) who have surrendered to the government.
The NHA is committed to provide every former NPA member housing assistance or housing units worth P450,000. Likewise, former rebels who already have existing units will also receive P100,000 worth of assistance for housing repairs and improvements under the E-CLIP.
The former members of the NPA who received house and lot packages during the ceremonial awarding Tuesday were Marion Jagmoc, Presco Kellay Perater Jr., Juanito Latiban, and Liza Davis.
Two other former rebels, Ricardo Omboy and Pedrito Sevilla, were given P65,000 in livelihood assistance by the President during the event.
Those who received housing units and government support were mostly from the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC). PND