PRRD to turn over first housing project for ex-NPA rebels

DAVAO CITY— President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the turn over of the government’s settlement project for former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Tagum City later this month.

This was according to National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada, who conducted a site inspection at the five-hectare Freedom Residences in Barangay Cuambongan, Tagum City on Friday.

Escalada said 50 of the 375 units will be initially turned over to recipients, who are former rebels from Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, parts of Compostela Valley province, and Davao del Norte.

The Freedom Residences is a secured subdivision-type housing project, with each unit costing PHP450,000. Each unit is tiled with 22 square meter floor area in the first floor and 11 square meters for the loft, a provision ready for light and water connections and other facilities.

“The owner of the unit will just have to apply personally for individual water and electricity connections,” the NHA chief said.

He said the housing units are also resilient from worst calamities like a 7.2 earthquake or typhoon.

“We will restrict improvement in the entrance but they can do improvements at the back,” he said, adding the government will also offer livelihood or income-generating opportunities for the beneficiaries.

A wet and dry market will also be built in the subdivision, where owners can engage in small business with the assistance of the government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“This is the first ever housing project of President Duterte for the former rebels,” Escalada said. “The rest of the 375 housing units will be completed by the first quarter of 2019.”

He said the first 50 beneficiaries have been fully evaluated by the government through the Expanded-Comprehensive Local Evaluation Program (e-CLIP) for former rebels. Lilian C. Mellejor/