LGUs may now access PHP 5-M fund for ex-NPA rebels’ half-way houses

MANILA-- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has announced that eligible local government units (LGUs) may now access PHP5-million fund each for the construction of half-way houses for former New People's Army (NPA) rebels under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

This after the DILG issued the guidelines that enumerate the systems and procedures that should be followed by concerned provinces and highly-urbanized cities (HUCs) to access the fund for the construction of a half-way house in accordance with pertinent laws and prescribed accounting rules and regulations.

"Half-way houses are important in the conduct of rehabilitation and healing sessions, and education and skills training activities. Hopefully, many provinces and HUCs can comply to the requirements in order to access fund for the construction of halfway houses so that we can help many former rebels and consequently their families to be back to living normal lives," DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy said in a statement on Friday.

Cuy said that eligible LGUs were provinces and HUCs that have requested for financial support for the construction of half-way house for their enrolled former rebels.

He said that the provinces and HUCs must also be willing to take charge of the maintenance and operation of the facility, including the basic homeroom sets such as beds, chairs, tables, kitchen utensils and other accessories and appliances.

The CLIP started in 2014 and aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of former NPA rebels as productive citizens; enhance capacities of LGUs and national government agencies in the implementation and sustainability of the CLIP; and compensate and remunerate all surrendered firearms, including those coming from the NPA.

A half-way house, as defined under Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2016-02 between the DILG and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), refers to the temporary residence that serves as the processing center for former rebels.

This could be a new physical structure that will be established in provinces or HUCs that have expressed the need for such facility.

This facility later on can evolve into a center that will cater to other individuals in crisis situations such as victims of violence against women and children (VAWC), juvenile delinquents, former convicts and times of disaster.

Half-way houses can also be existing facilities that would serve the purpose of a processing center.

A separate room or facilities shall be provided for individual women former rebels.

The guidelines include the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, the institutional arrangements, the procedures in the management and releases and liquidation of funds, as well as the procedures and responsible offices in the monitoring of the project.

Covered by the guidelines are the provinces of Kalinga, Mountain Province, Northern Samar, Negros Oriental, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and North Cotabato.

Source: Philippines News Agency