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The National Housing Authority (NHA) said the government has housing programs available for rebel returnees outside Palawan but majority of those with whom they have discussed the initiative do not wish to reside in other regions.

Housing authority provincial representative Luisa Calilung said during the UP UP Palawan Program of the Tactical Operations Wing West (TOW West) on Friday, September 3, that the rebel returnees do not want to take advantage of the AFP-PNP housing programs ready for them in Regions 10 and 11 since they prefer to live in Palawan.

“Yes po [ine-encourage natin sila. Ayaw na nilang manirahan doon sa lugar kung saan sila nanggaling. Mayroon tayong ino-offer sa ngayon na hindi pa occupied pero wala dito sa Palawan–sa Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental at Davao del Norte,” she said.

“Sa mga nakausap namin ay mas pinipili nila na dito manirahan sa Palawan kaysa doon sa AFP-PNP Housing na para din sana sa kanila,” Calilung added.

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Calilung said they are encouraging rebel returnees to take advantage of the housing programs by coordinating with the local social welfare and development office.

She said that another option in assisting the rebel returnees in starting new lives is to give economic aid of up to P450,000 for housing as long as they can provide proof of land ownership.

“[May ibang option naman] pinipili nila ang P450,000 pero ito ay may requirements –dapat may maipakita sila na ang area ay nakapangalan sa kanila. Mayroon ding isa pang option na contract agreement kung saan babayaran ang private owner tapos kapag na-release na sa returnee ang amount ay ibabawas doon ang binayad sa owner,” she said.

According to Calilung, they have an ongoing AFP-PNP housing project in Barangay Irawan which is about 500 units .

She said that they are not definite if there will be available units for the former rebels in the site.

“Sa ngayon ay hindi pa natin masagot kung mayron bang available units para sa kanila kasi pastart pa lang ang project. Pero kung halimbawa na may grupo ng returnees na gusto magkaroon ng housing dito sa Puerto Princesa City ay pwede po magcoordinate sa city or province kung mayron pong maidonate na lupa para po sa housing,” she added.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.