Archive | December, 2013

New Year, new homes for ‘Pablo’ families

Merry Love Regodon and her father Marcelino by their new home.

LAAK, Compostela Valley – Merry Love Regodon, a Grade 6 pupil, cannot hide her joy because her family celebrated Christmas and will soon celebrate New Year in their brand new home.

Last year, they spent the holidays at the evacuation center after they lost their house to Typhoon Pablo which struck on December 4, 2012.

The brand new home Merry Love was referring to is part of the newly-completed housing project for ‘Pablo’ victims in Barangay Kidawa under the Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

An initial 115 units were turned over by the DSWD to the family-recipients on December 22, two days before Christmas.

She shares how pleased she is that their new house is nearer her school.

“I used to walk one kilometer to Kidawa Elementary School,” she said.

Spearheaded by the provincial government, the housing units were constructed through Cash-For-Work (CFW) and through Gawad Kalinga’s Bayanihan scheme.

With a lot area of 70 square meters, each unit comes painted inside and outside, with bathroom and septic tank, separate kitchen, and window-level concrete walling.

The government spent P20,709,840 for the completion of the 115 units.

Governor Arturo T. Uy said he instructed his provincial department heads and 82 employees to personally supervise and monitor the construction of the units.

The relocation site is one of the two safest places in the town based on the study of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB).

“The housing design is sturdier. The residents have already organized the Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA) to ensure the cleanliness and overall maintenance of the relocation site.  The residents are now more united and more prepared for any disaster,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explained.

Of the initial recipients, 39 are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Sec. Soliman urged the families to take care of their new homes.

President Benigno S. Aquino III went to Brgy. Kidawa to personally inspect the housing units.

Addressing the beneficiaries, Pres. Aquino said in the vernacular, “Kamo gihapon ang akong kusog (You are still my strength).”

“Marami pa tayong kailangang gawin at mahaba pa ang ating lalakbayin. Sulong tayo sa pag-unlad nating lahat  (We still need to do a lot and our journey is far from over. Let‘s move forward towards progress),” he remarked.

Marcelino Regodon, Merry Love’s father, said, “Most of us here in the village have gradually recovered with the numerous assistance that reached us.”

Luna Mae Lino, a 21-year old mother and another recipient of the housing project, on the other hand, is very thankful to DSWD for bringing the program to their village even if it is far.

The town’s Parish Priest, Fr. Jun Tuyco, said in his homily prior to the house blessing, “Let us strive to listen and help the government.”

Some 5,116 houses in this municipality were destroyed by ‘Pablo’.

Of this, 456 were located in Brgy Kidawa. The DSWD aims to replace all the 456 with brand new houses. (DSWD)

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DSWD accepts Indon Consulate donation

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI Regional Director Priscilla Nidea-Razon accepts the Php 55,481 donation from the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia.

Witnessing the turnover are [from left] Hon. Consul General Loeqeng R. Priyohanisetyo, Ho.  Consul General Eko Hartono and Mila T. Segovia, DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Administration.

“This is part of our efforts to contribute something to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.  We initiated a simple Culinary Bazaar For-A-Cause on December 15 through the help of Consulate General of Malaysia, Japanese Consulate, Pagasa Phil-Chinese Cooperative, and Indonesian Diaspora-Southern Philippines. We had it at SM City Davao Annex Ecoland and we were able to raise funds and donated it to DSWD XI as lead agency in disaster relief operation. By having so, we do not only promote our food but also encouraged them to donate something by buying our food,” Consul General Eko Hartono said. (DSWD)

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One year after – New Moon shines over ‘Pablo’-hit towns

Gerry S. Tabura, president of Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA) engages the new homeowners of Better Living Village in Poblacion Cateel.

CATEEL, Davao Oriental – It is 9 o’clock in this cold December evening but Barangay Poblacion, the center of this town is still teeming with people, specifically at Eduard’s Grill, the most popular dining place in the entire municipality.

Decorative lights, in keeping with the Yuletide season, adorn homes and establishments.

Overhead, a full moon glows, bathing the town in an ethereal light prompting one resident to exclaim, “Tapos na talaga ang unos, nakabangon na ang Cateel (The storm has passed. Cateel has risen).”

This is the cheerful scenario that now greets visitors and travelers here. Hardly are there signs that this picturesque coastal town comprising of 16 barangays once bore the brunt of Typhoon Pablo’s fury as it struck Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces on December 4, 2012.

Year of trials and challenges

Sarah I. Bulala, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO), acknowledged that the year following ‘Pablo’s’ devastation has been “full of trials and challenges.

She notes however, that “with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the provincial government, non-government organizations (NGOs) and various local and international organizations, [the town has] recovered.”

According to Bulala, DSWD continues to provide Cash-for-Work (CFW) for the victims.

CFW is the provision of compensation based on prevailing regional wage to disaster victims in exchange for doing community work, such as clearing roads of debris, declogging of canals, and repair of small community facilities.

Aside from CFW, the DSWD, together with International Organization for Migration (IOM), Red Cross, Plan International, and other humanitarian and government organizations, provided seminars on livelihood.

“Women’s groups were also organized to engage in gardening, which is both therapeutic and income-generating,” Bulala added.

“Likewise, DSWD’s other programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, Supplemental Feeding, and Social Pension for indigent senior citizens, helped us a lot in achieving normalcy,” she said.

On the other hand, Cateel Vice-Mayor Isidro S. Castro emphasized the fast-tracking of livelihood assistance as the local government’s priority, along with the ongoing construction of new houses and repair of damaged government facilities, such as day care centers.

“We have rebuilt 25 out of the 40 destroyed day care centers in the municipality,” Vice-Mayor Castro said.

“We are halfway to total recovery but much still needs to be done. It will take maybe three to five years for us to fully recover and achieve economic self-sufficiency,” the Vice-Mayor further explained.

A second-class municipality, it mainly depends on palm oil production and planting of fast-growing trees like Falcata and rubber trees. Peanuts and vegetable farming are the people’s main source of livelihood.

The residents were trained on farming methods suited to the town’s terrain.

Focus on recovery

The struggle towards economic sufficiency after the onslaught of ‘Pablo’ was a concern shared by the local government units (LGUs) of Boston and Banganga, two other towns in Davao Oriental badly hit by the typhoon.

As Ma. Consolacion P. Cabrera, MSWDO of Boston puts it, “We are still recovering, specifically with the loss of our livelihood, but with the help of the national and provincial governments, it will not take us long to achieve our goals.”

Cabrera cited the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehesive and Integrated Delivery of Social-Services-Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Kalahi-CIDSS-PAMANA) program implemented by the DSWD as instrumental in the town’s recovery.

The program is implemented in all eight barangays of Boston and is responsible for the construction of day care centers, barangay health stations, water systems and mini-market.

For his part, Banganga Mayor Arturo Monday stated, “By next year, we will be fully recovered. Our priorities now are ensuring food security and the livelihood of the people.”

Mayor Monday imparted this message to the LGUs and residents of Leyte and Samar provinces devastated by typhoon ‘Yolanda’ last November 8, “Let us set aside politics so help and recovery will easily reach the affected populace.”

“You have to be very strong, forget the past and focus on recovery as we have done,” the Mayor emphasized.

New homes for the New Year

Earlier this month, the provincial government and DSWD-Field Office XI turned over some 72 permanent housing units under DSWD’s Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP) to the beneficiaries in Better Living Village at Purok Madre de Cacao, Poblacion Cateel.

Gerry S. Tabura, newly-elected President of the Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA) expressed their gratitude to the DSWD, and to the municipal and provincial governments for their new homes, saying, “Now that we have permanent houses to live in, we can really start anew.”

Each of the pink, yellow and white houses in the village measures 80 square meters and can withstand extreme wind and rain.

Cash grants Couple Renie and Mila Alvar of Brgy. Dapnan, Banganga, on the other hand, chose to have their permanent house built on the site where their destroyed house used to be.

The couple is also thankful that aside from the housing assistance, they are also beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya. Renie said that the program has helped them a lot during those critical times of starting anew.

Of their eight children, two are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

Their daughter Mia, 12, was chosen as the Exemplary Child of Pantawid Pamilya and has participated in the National Children’s Congress held last October in Manila.

Their children became Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in 2011.

Renie and Mila shared that the things they learned during the Family Development Sessions (FDS) helped them recover after the typhoon.

“We were taught responsible parenthood and disaster preparedness which proved valuable before, during and after the typhoon,” Mila said in the vernacular.

“We also believe in sariling sikap na hindi parating umaasa sa tulong ng iba (doing things on our own, and not just relying on other people’s help),” the couple explained.

With their savings, they expanded their modest sari-sari store beside their new house.

Lessons learned

The three worst ‘Pablo’-hit towns in the province are adjacent to each other. From this town, it takes only 30 minutes to reach Boston travelling towards Surigao Sur, and an hour to Banganga.

These are also the farthest towns in the province. The local officials are one in saying that they have all learned some valuable lessons from the disaster.

Mayor Monday reflected, “We need to work together to build the capacities of LGUs for disaster preparedness. Likewise, we must reform by ensuring that there is equal delivery of services to everyone regardless of political affiliation, religion, gender, and social status.”

Andy A. Monday, Chairman of Brgy. Dapnan, Banganga, stated, “What happened is a wake-up call to us so we may conserve and protect the environment.”

This viewpoint was shared by Vice-Mayor Castro who underscored, “The issues concerning climate change and environmental protection must now take precedence over everything else, or else we may yet suffer from more devastating calamities.”

Better communities DSWD-FO XI Director Priscilla N. Razon summed it all up in saying, “It was our first experience in handling a massive disaster, and it was not easy for all of us. We have encountered several challenges along the way like telling various sectors what the government has been doing.”

“Through it all, I feel so blessed for having the full support of the DSWD management, a responsive and cooperative staff and the overwhelming response of the local and international groups which stood by us and helped us from disaster relief operations to recovery and rehabilitation stage.”

She adds, “I also admire the resiliency of the affected LGUs and residents. They held fast to our promise not to lose hope because the government is on hand to assist them, and we delivered, new homes and livelihood opportunities.

“More blessings will be coming, and together with our LGU partners and the people themselves, we are now building better homes and better lives.” (DSWD)

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PNoy in ComVal town

President Benigno C. Aquino III assures Kidawa villagers of continuing government support on Sunday, December 22. (DSWD)

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NEW HOMES. Typhoon-resistant homes constructed for ‘Pablo’ families in Kidawa, Laak town, Compostela Valley. The DSWD Modified Shelter Assistance Program was implemented in collaboration with the provincial government. (DSWD)

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NEW HOMES. DSWD permanent shelters for ‘Pablo’ families built in the towns of Cateel, Baganga and Boston, Davao Oriental in partnership with the provincial government. (DSWD)

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President Benigno C. Aquino III arrives in Barangay Kidawa, Laak, Compostela Valley to inspect the permanent shelter units for families left homeless by ‘Pablo’.

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President Benigno C. Aquino III visits Kidawa, Laak.

KIDAWA, LAAK, Compostela Valley, December 23 (DSWD) Over 300 families left homeless by Typhoon Pablo in December 2012 met up with President Benigno C. Aquino III as he visited Barangay Kidawa Sunday. The President inspected the newly-completed housing project under the DSWD Modified Shelter Assistance Program. He also talked with some beneficiaries identified to receive the initial 115 units. He was accompanied by social welfare secretary Corazon J. Soliman, defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, national housing general manager Chito Cruz, cabinet secretary Jose Rene Almendras, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery Sen. Panfilo Lacson, among others.

In his message, the President emphasized that cabinet members are instrumental ‘sa ating pagbangon at pagsulong’ following the disasters that hit the country. He said, we have to make sure that every step we take brings us towards sustainable development. “Kailangan ang aktibong pagkilos at pakikipagtulungan sa mga institusyon (There is a need for active collaboration with the institutions).” Addressing the beneficiaries, he stressed, Kamo gihapon ang akong kusog…Marami pa tayong kailangang gawin at mahaba pa ang ating lalakbayin…Sulong tayo sa pag-unlad nating lahat (You still are my strength. We still need to do a lot and our journey is far from over…Let’s move forward towards progress).”

At the briefing for President Aquino here, Secretary Soliman said the relocation site is one of the two safest places in Laak per study of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB). “The housing design is sturdier and the NASA (Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance) is already organized and they are now more united and more prepared for any disaster. Of the 115 initial recipients, 39 are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.” She urged the families though to take care of their new homes.

Spearheaded by the provincial government, the initial 115 permanent shelters were constructed in 45 days through Cash-For-Work and through Gawad Kalinga’s Bayanihan scheme. Gov. Arturo T. Uy said he instructed his provincial department heads and 82 employees to personally supervise and monitor the building of the units. Governor Uy personally thanked the President, saying, “Your presence will be our inspiration to strive and rise again through diligence and hard work.”

Houses that were destroyed in Laak by ‘Pablo’ reached 5116. Of this figure, 456 were located in Kidawa. The DSWD aims to build 456 units of the 24 square meter-shelter in Kidawa barangay relocation site. With a lot area of 70 square meters, each unit comes painted inside and out, with bath room and septic tank, separate kitchen, and window-level concrete walling. For the 115 units, project cost is Php 20,709,840.00.

Beneficiary and owner of House No. 15 Marcelino Regodon, said, “As most of us here in the village, we have gradually recovered considering the numerous assistance that reached us.” His daughter Merry Love, a Grade 6 pupil, is glad that their brand new home is much nearer to her school. She used to walk one kilometre to Kidawa Elementary School.

“We work hard so we can survive. God is really good. There are kind-hearted people helping those in need like us. We are overjoyed since we can now transfer to our new house. Unlike our present makeshift dwelling where we use plastic sheets as roofing material. When it pours, some portion leaks and we get soaked,” admitted Norma Bautista, 52.

Luna Mae Lino, a 21-year old mother and the lucky owner of House No. 72 is very thankful to DSWD for bringing the program to her village even if it is very far.

Laak parish priest Fr. Jun Tuyco said in his homily prior to the house blessing, “Let us strive to listen and help the government.”

From Poblacion Laak, it takes an hour to reach Barangay Kidawa. It has 10 puroks with a population of 1600 consisting of 600 households, 60% of which belongs to the Dibabawon tribe. Kidawa is bounded in the north by Veruela town, Agusan Del Sur; Montevista, ComVal in the south; and Monkayo, ComVal in the east. (DSWD)

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December 2013

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