MOA signing and groundbreaking rites.

Davao City – Some 129 families living along Ilang riverbanks will soon build their new homes as the joint project of Holcim Philippines, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) formally kicked off with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Agreement and groundbreaking ceremony at Pag-Asa Ilang Relocation Site.

“Several families live along the banks of Ilang River. They struggle whenever floodwaters invade their homes, leaving almost everything devastated. The relocation will provide a new life and new hope for the families.” stressed Holcim Philippines Chief Executive Officer Eduardo A. Sahagun.

For its part, Holcim Philippines donated P 54 million worth of three hectares of land through the Barangay Local Government Unit and P 43,000.00 capital assistance for livelihood through Concrete Hollow Block making.

Moreover, Holcim Philippines put in an additional P 10 million for skills enhancement training on Masonry, Plumbing, Carpentry, and Concrete Hollow Block Production. These skills would come handy for site development, water drilling, road networks, and drainage system.

Family heads will be equipped with construction skills to prepare them in building their homes, Sahagun said.

Holcim Davao Plant Manager Zita Balogo said, “Wherever our company operates, it’s our commitment to support projects that uplift the community. We saw that the families used to live in an area that becomes heavily flooded during rainy season. By backing this project, we hope to help improve their lives by providing them a safer place to live and equip them with new skills for additional livelihood options.”

DSWD, on the other hand, provided P 9 million for the Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP) and P 2.9 million for Cash for Work, where beneficiaries receive cash of P260 daily as they build their new community.

At the turnover of the MSAP cheque to the family-recipients, DSWD Director Priscilla N. Razon said, “You will now have peace of mind and you won’t be anxious anymore. Now make an effort to improve your new village. Grow vegetables and cultivate plants. Show to all that you deserve the support you got. We are hoping for more partnership and collaboration such as this so that more disadvantaged communities will be assisted.”

The BLGU released a P 295,000.00 counterpart for Food for Training during skills enhancement sessions, P 21,000.00 for social preparation of beneficiaries, and P 250,000.00 for construction management.

Part of the recipients are 36 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries and one of them is Vircelina Suarez. She is a Pantawid Parent Leader, recipient of Sustainable Livelihood Program and president of Pag-asa Ilang Homeowners Association (PIHOA).

For the immense support and assistance they have received, Suarez said, “Dako akong pasalamat sa Ginoo ug sa mga tao nga gihimo niyang instrumento nga matabangan kami. Mao kini ang sugod sa kalambuan sa among kinabuhi,” (I am very grateful to God and to the people He sent to help us. This is the start of our progress).”

The residents of Ilang may not easily forget the emotional and economic pains brought about by the floods. Rehabilitation of their homes and livelihoods will take time. But it’s the resilience of the human spirit that will always prevail. DSWD, CSSDO and Holcim unite with the villagers in Ilang in this initiative for recovery. (DSWD)