TACLOBAN CITY – At least three houses at the “Saad nga Balay” project in San Jose de Buan, Samar are now completed which will serve as permanent shelters for members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who have surrendered to the government.
The construction of the housing units is being done by a team composed of personnel from the engineering construction battalion of the Philippine Army and former rebels who were earlier trained by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in carpentry.
The team is targeting to finish 17 houses which will be turned over to the homeless 17 former rebels who were earlier identified as the beneficiaries of the housing assistance from the government.
The provincial government of Samar through Governor Sharee Ann Tan allocated P2.5 million while the local government unit of San Jose de Buan through Mayor Joaquin Elizalde contributed P1.5 million to fund the construction of the housing units.
From the original plan of using concrete and “sawali” to construct the houses, the design was changed into concrete and “hardi flex” to make it more durable and sturdy.
The housing project is located in a 3.4-hectare area subjected to a gratuitous special use permit (GSUP) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Each unit is constructed on at 100-square-meter lot and has two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room.
B/Gen Lenart Lelina, 801st brigade commander said that it was not yet discussed if the completed three housing units would be turned over right away or wait for the completion of other housing units.
Lelina added that aside from the housing units, there is also a farm for the livelihood component of the assistance and a training center.
The Army official further said that although they have no timeline to finish all 17 housing units, they are hoping to complete them by December of this year.
Lelina added that they are looking forward to expanding or replicating the project to other municipalities under their jurisdiction like in Palapag town in Northern Samar province and Matuguinao town in Samar province.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA)