Philippines

Government to build halfway houses in Ilocos region

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By Freddie G. Lazaro

SAN FERNANDO CITY, June 30 (PIA) - - To have a temporary shelter for surrendered rebels in Ilocos region, a halfway house is set to be built in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

DILG Region 1 Director James F. Fadrilan said the provincial government of the three provinces have already submitted some of the requirements for the construction of the halfway house in their area.

“We are now waiting for the completion of the requirements for the project by the provincial local government before we signal the start of the construction,” said Fadrilan.

He said the DILG Central Office had already downloaded to their regional office the P5 million each for the three provinces for the construction of a halfway house.

The facility will have dormitory rooms, function hall, office, among others.

“The halfway house will serve as a temporary shelter for former rebels during the processing of their documents as beneficiaries of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP,” said Fadrilan.

Major General Lenard Agustin, the commander of the army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, said this halfway house will also serve as the venue of livelihood training and debriefing sessions for the former rebels.

The creation of a halfway house will shift the bulk of responsibilities to assist former rebels from the Philippine Army to the local government units (LGUs) considering that the LGUs are better equipped to respond to the needs of the rebel returnees.

In the Joint Memorandum Circular of the DILG and the Department of National Defense (DND) Number 2018-01, the DILG is assigned to implement the provision of a DILG-administered package of assistance for former rebels, who were members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and Militia ng Bayan.

The joint DILG – DND Memorandum Circular was realized in connection to the implementation of the Administrative Order Number 10 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on April 3, 2018 for the enhancement of the comprehensive local integration program or the E-CLIP.

Beneficiaries under E-CLIP are regular NPA members who surfaced on April 3, 2018 onwards and have expressed the desire to abandon armed violence and become productive members of society, including their immediate family members.

All former NPA rebels who surfaced starting July 1, 2016, as well as those who have been processed but did not receive the full assistance under the CLIP, may also be provided benefits from the program.

Under the E-CLIP program, a former rebel is entitled to P15,000 immediate assistance, P21,000 reintegration assistance, P50,000 livelihood assistance, low-cost housing, firearms remuneration in the amount that is double the cost valuation of turned-in firearms, and PhilHealth enrolment under the PAMANA-PhilHealth sponsored program.

A former rebel will also be enrolled under the Conditional Cash Transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (AMB/FGL, PIA 1)