By Liwayway Yparraguirre
SANTA ANA, CAGAYAN – The more than 300 regular and contractual employees of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) will soon benefit from the CEZA-Pag-IBIG Fund Housing Project in this town.
In an interview on Saturday, Secretary Raul Lambino, CEZA administrator and chief executive officer, said the housing project which broke ground earlier this week, covers 7.3 hectares and is located at Barangay Diora-Zinungan, an upland area overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
“CEZA, in collaboration with Pag-IBIG, has no more urgent mission than providing a housing project for the people of Santa Ana, Cagayan. This is not just my economic mission as the administrator and CEO of CEZA, but it is my moral mission to give our locals access to decent and livable housing. It is about social justice and building a fairer and stronger Santa Ana, Cagayan that is truly fit for the future generations,” Lambino said.
He said that when President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him as CEZA administrator more than a year ago, he noticed the dismal situation that job order employees or contract of service employees have been experiencing for the past 10 to 15 years.
“While they are serving the people and the government, they are not being considered as employees of the government, they cannot avail of the basic benefits. Under our leadership, with the help of the members of the Board of Directors, we entered into an agreement with the SSS (Social Security System), PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG so that all of us in CEZA, regular plantilla position holders or job order/ contract of service should have at least a chance to have a better and secure future. With the MOU with the three government agencies, the contract of service employees have a brighter future to look into,” Lambino explained.
He said he asked the assistant regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the immediate construction of the road network in the housing project area, following the groundbreaking and memorandum of understanding signed between CEZA and Pag-IBIG on July 9.
Pag-IBIG senior vice president for Business Development Sector Fermin Sta. Teresa Jr., during the groundbreaking ceremony, thanked and commended Lambino for initiating the project. He said it is Pag-IBIG’s 42nd undertaking all over the country, and the first ever inside an economic zone, as well as the first in the Tuguegarao area of coverage of the agency.
“We would like to commend CEZA especially Secretary Lambino for initiating this kind of project. We thank you for the coverage of contractual employees to be able to avail of the benefits especially under the Pag-IBIG fund program, your concern for the welfare of the employees regardless of their status of employment,” he said.
Sta. Teresa said Pag-IBIG has allotted P1.1 billion for the Tuguegarao Housing Business Center, and this covers the budget intended for the CEZA housing project.
“Your loan with Pag-IBIG fund will be affordable and with liberal terms. Loan feature includes the lowest rate in the market. If you will avail of a package up to P6 million, we will only charge 5.375 percent for a one-year re-pricing, or 6.375 percent for a three-year re-pricing. For employees whose income is less P12,000, Pag-IBIG Fund will subsidize the interest rate for a period of five years. The beneficiaries will only pay 3 percent interest per annum. We also have the multiple availment policy,” he explained.
Aside from the road network, also included among the facilities of the housing project are well-designed road network and drainage system, sewerage treatment plant, materials recovery facility, water system, and electrification. (PNA)