Francisco Culpa of Sibajay, Boston happily holds his Certificate of Occupancy to his new home. Also in photo is his grandchild.

Cateel, Davao Oriental– Typhoon Pablo may have trampled the houses and lives of many residents of Davao Oriental but it also brought transformation to every victim who strives to bounce back.

For Leofora Losentes, 45, of Barangay Alegria, typhoon Pablo was a two-edged sword that brought them not just the devastation but a more beautiful home and more opportunities.

In the continuing rehabilitation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in partnership with the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental, another 728 permanent homes for the typhoon survivors of Cateel, Boston and Baganga were recently completed and turned over.

This brings to 3,369 permanent shelters completed in Davao Oriental through the DSWD Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP).

The continuous construction is being implemented while ensuring that residents are properly relocated in safe zones to prevent future disasters.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Administration Mila T. Segovia conveyed her appreciation to the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental in helping the victims recover from the disaster. To the new homeowners, she shared, “This is also my hometown and I know many of you are still reeling from the vast challenges brought by the disaster but the government is doing every initiative to help you rise and fully recover.”

Losentes expressed her gratefulness to the department for subsidizing all expenses in building their home. “Grabe akoang kalipay nga naa na gyud mi maingon karon nga amoang balay.  Gilupad man sa bagyo amoang balay ug nagpuyo sa payag-payag kilid sa kalsada pero karon makatulog na akoang mga anak og maayo (I am extremely happy now that we have a home we can call our own. Our house was swept away by the typhoon and we had to stay in a makeshift house along the road. My children can now sleep comfortably).”

A Pantawid Pamilya grantee, Losentes has 7 children. Her husband Pedro is a farm laborer. Her older son Luther, 22, works as a laborer in a rice field while second child Jick, 19, is a helper in the construction of houses for typhoon victims.

At the ceremonial turnover, Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon encouraged beneficiaries to also participate in the construction, in a scheme where they too are paid for the labor in building their own homes. “We are fast tracking the construction of all the houses and target to finish it as soon as possible. I urge everyone to take advantage of the livelihood opportunity especially that there are still thousands of houses to be constructed.”

To Lorna Rendola, 50, of Barangay Dawis, Baganga, the livelihood opportunity offered by the governor would surely help her family move on. Rendola’s husband died prior to the typhoon. She lost her son, daughter-in-law and three-month old grandson to Typhoon Pablo.

“Sakit gyud akoang gibati hangtod karon pero kinahanglan ko mabuhi para sa akoang pamilya ug mga anak. (Upto now I am deeply devastated by what happened but I need to be strong for my family and children).”

Rendola has seven more children and one grandchild to look after. She is very thankful to the government who never left them and hopeful for all the opportunities that will still come. “Kaya ko ang pagbabago dahil sa patuloy na tiwala at tulong ng gobyerno. Maraming salamat po.”

“The spirit of perseverance has come alive in the province where people surpassed the odds through unity and resiliency. I assure you that in every initiative of the government, no one will be left behind,” claimed Assistant Director Segovia. (DSWD)