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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sarangani opens halfway house, temporary home for ex-rebels

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DAVAO CITY—Sarangani province has opened a halfway house, or temporary shelter, for former New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas and members of terror groups who opted to return to the folds of the law.

The halfway house cost P5 million and Gov. Rogelio D. Pacquiao and Rep. Steve Chiongbian Solon led the inauguration last month in the provincial capital of Alabel.

The provincial government said the halfway house would be a temporary home for former rebels “where they will be accommodated while still in the process of reintegration into mainstream society.”

The facility measures 1,475 square meters and was funded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and constructed by the Provincial Engineering Office, with six buildings, including one office and conference room, one quarter for females, one quarter for males, one mess hall and two conjugal rooms for former rebels who could bring with them their family.

The facility would be among the benefits of the E-CLIP, or the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which also include livelihood assistance, financial assistance, reintegration assistance, and firearms remuneration.

The E-CLIP provides a comprehensive, integrated, community-based national program “that is locally implemented to address the legal status and security of former rebels, as well as their economic, social, psychosocial rehabilitation needs and provide immediate to long-term interventions,” the provincial information office said.

Lizette Lopez, provincial focal person for E-CLIP, said the facility could accommodate a maximum of 30 clients, with 15 males and 15 females. She said that from 2011 to the present, Sarangani has already had a total of 573 former rebels, and from 2016 to 2022, a total of 161 rebel returnees have already returned to the folds of law and were given assistance by the government.

Pacquaio and Solon made a quick tour around the facility to check on the status of the building and in order to address the other needs of the facility.

Pacquiao acknowledged his predecessor, Rep. Solon, “which was during then governor and now Congressman Steve Solon’s term that the government plan had materialized to end insurgency.”

Solon also acknowledged the contribution of then-Congressman and now Governor Pacquiao in the peace development efforts of the province.

“In just a matter of three months, he pushed the programs of Ronda Probinsya and you see how fast people are adapting it,” Solon said.

The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office turned over P5,000 financial assistance to each 22 former rebels, while the DILG turned over P336,000 reintegration and administrative assistance to the National Police’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion.

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