ILIGAN CITY —– The local government unit (LGU) of Iligan broke ground on Friday (October 30), to start the construction of a Halfway House, a training center and temporary shelter for former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered to the government.
Located inside the compound of the former National Steel Corporation (NSC) in Barangay Suarez, Iligan City, the P852,200 structure financed from the LGU’s coffers is set to be finished within 75 working days.
Lt. Col. Domingo Dulay, Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, said the Halfway House is also called the “Happy Home Project” that will serve as temporary shelter and a training venue for the livelihood of former rebels.
“Inaasahan na sa pamagitan ng programang ito ay mas lalong mapapangalagaan ang seguridad ng mga dating rebelde habang inihihahanda nila ang kanilang mga sarili sa bagong buhay na payapa at matiwasay,” Dulay said. (We are hoping we can help protect the security of former rebels through this program while preparing them to move forward and live peacefully and harmoniously.)
The construction of Halfway House is part of the government’s program called Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
It is where the former rebels are being treated, transformed and prepared for reintegration mainstream society.
They will stay in the temporary shelter while waiting for the benefits they can get from the government through the E-CLIP.
This month, a permanent P5-million Halfway House in Sitio Fatima in Barangay Abuno will be opened according to Dulay.
The Army’s 554th Engineering Battalion and the 55th Engineering Brigade will help in the construction of the training canter with the former rebels who be paid for their work under the Cash for Work Program of the LGU.
As of October 30, there were 34 former NPA fighters who surrendered to the military through the 4th MIB. One of them was believed assassinated by his former colleaguesin February this year , one died of sickness and another is in jail.
“Ang proyektong ito sa ilalim ng City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict ng Iligan ay patunay ng pagkakaisa ng iba’t-ibang sektor upang mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga miyembro ng rebeldeng grupo na nagbalik loob at makahikayat pa sa iba na iwanan ang armadong pakikibaka at mamuhay ng mapayapa,” Dulay said.