‘Saad nga Balay’

SAAD NGA BALAY. Former members of the New People’s Army are sure to have their own houses.Thanks to the program of the provincial government of Samar and the local government of Calbiga which funded the housing project located in Polangi of the said town. (EMY CALAGOS)

TACLOBAN CITY-The construction of another “Saad nga Balay” housing project in Eastern Visayas commenced on Friday (May 10), in Calbiga town, Samar province.

Saad nga Balay is a housing initiative conceived by the 801st Brigade under the leadership of Brigadier General Lenart Lelina, employing the “bayanihan” concept to engage government agencies actively in providing decent shelter for former members of the communist armed group, the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) who have surrendered and seek to reintegrate into society with their families.

The project, located in Barangay Polangi, aims to construct at least 10 housing units in Calbiga, funded by the Samar provincial government with a budget of P2.8 million.

Aside from local officials led by Mayor Red Nacario, among those who witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony were Vice Governor Arnold Tan and Office for the Presidential Adviser on Peace and Reconciliation and Unity Program Manager, Imelda Bonifacio.

Representatives from various national and regional line agencies also participated as signatories to the signing of a memorandum of partnership agreement.

“The housing project is designed to offer a safe and stable environment for former rebels, fostering a supportive government framework where former adversaries can thrive and coexist in the community with equality and respect, encouraging them to realize their potential and commitment,” reads a statement from the 801st Brigade.

“The initiative aims to break the cycle of conflict and promote peace and security within the community. The launch of this project signifies a significant step forward in the ongoing journey towards peace and reconciliation,” it added.

Deodario Nablo, president of the Calbiga Peacebuilders and Development Federation (CPBDF), expressed profound gratitude for the collective support, recognizing the government’s sincere dedication to effecting meaningful change.

Established as early as 2021, the CPBDF, comprised of former rebels turned peacebuilders, signifies a historic collaboration between the federation and the provincial government, aimed at enhancing local peacebuilding efforts and fostering sustainable development within the region.

Mayor Nacario pledged his unwavering support for the cause, committing to lead the implementation of a dignified housing project tailored to meet the unique needs of the former rebels.

In addition, the Office for the Presidential Adviser on Peace and Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) vowed to assist by partnering with various agencies to provide essential livelihood support, skills training programs, and capacity-building activities, empowering individuals and promoting sustainable development.

Aside from Calbiga, Saad nga Balay was successfully implemented in San Jose de Buan town, also in Samar with 10 out of 17 houses for former rebels already turned over.

Similar projects are ongoing in Cav-avid town and Dolores, both in Eastern Samar province.