Ayala Land builds houses for Yolanda survivors

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


TO CELEBRATE its silver anniversary, Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) renewed its commitment to help rebuild typhoon-affected communities in northern Iloilo.

In time for its 25th year celebration, the country’s prime property developer recently turned over 150 housing units, out of its 350 target units, to the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda of Sicogon Island in Carles town, Iloilo.

The new typhoon-resilient houses are located in an 8-hectare resettlement site in Brgy. Jolog Estancia town, Iloilo.

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Leading the turnover ceremonies were Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., Vice Gov. Raul Tupas, , Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero, Batad Mayor Pedro Alarcon, Balasan Mayor Filomeno Ganzon, ALI project development manager Ryan Ybanez, Ayala consultant and former Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., Italian special envoy Rosario Centola and Iloilo provincial administrator Raul Banias.

Also present at the turnover rites were Dave Sarrosa, Angelica Sarrosa-Jesena and Christine Sarrosa-Dorris, all of Sicogon Development Corporation (SIDECO), and ALI project development consultant Kristian Javier and Joy Sanciangco.

Ybanez disclosed that ALI has allocated over P100 million to build a new community of 350 families in the once sleepy coastal village as part of its commitment as development sponsor of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

“There is no better way of celebrating our 25th year but to be here with you today and allow us to give back to the community. With your help, we will progress into building back the region and make the countryside more progressive,” Ybanez said in his speech.

Ayala Land has committed to build 350 homes for Sicogon folks, with the remaining 200 more units expected to be completed in August this year, Ybanez said.

Without much fanfare, Ayala Land, then headed by Antonino Aquino, fielded personnel and volunteer groups two days after Yolanda struck Sicogon Island and most parts of northern Iloilo, last Nov. 8.

The devastation was overwhelming that ALI initially sent 10,000 relief packs and conducted a series of medical missions to help quell possible epidemic in the area, Ybanez reported to Lacson.

“We are happy to report to you that Ayala Land is determined to cover four areas of relief— education, health, shelter and livelihood,” he said.

Clearing operations were immediately conducted through the cash-for-work scheme involving community residents, who lost their fishing boats to the strongest-ever typhoon to hit the country.

The company also assisted 8,000 schoolchildren, who were distributed to eight municipalities in December so as not to disrupt their education.

To date, ALI also turned over 300 rehabilitated fishing boats to fisherfolks from Carles, Estancia and Banate, he said.

Some 300 more fishing boats are still being rehabilitated.

Residents also received tarpaulin as roofing for their temporary homes, while shelter kits that included roofing materials, plywood and nails, among others, were also distributed in Carles town.

ALI also participated in school-building rehabilitation efforts, and has so far covered classrooms in seven schools located in Carles, Estancia, Batad, Balasan and San Dionisio towns.

“But there are more things that need to be done. Ayala Land believes that the key to building back better (communities) is in creating more job opportunities, capacitating the victims of Yolanda and empowering them to be more resilient in the coming typhoons,” Ybanez said in his message.

Globe Telecom, another Ayala Group firm, is helping typhoon victims in Aklan, while Ayala Foundation is undertaking relief work in Negros Occidental.

Lacson lauded ALI’s steadfast commitment to OPARR.

The rehabilitation czar told Sicogon residents how fortunate they are with Ayala and SIDECO because the area on which their resettlement site was built on, sit right in front of the picturesque Estancia Bay, which is already a very expensive prime property if they are in the United States.

Meanwhile, ALI is exploring a joint venture with SIDECO to develop the prime island property of Sicogon in Carles town. Sicogon Island is owned by a prominent family from Negros Occidental.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 17, 2014.

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