Mandaue gives aid to Yolanda-hit Camotes

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


CEBU -- Three local government units in the Camotes Islands received financial aid from the Mandaue City Government Monday, almost three months after super typhoon Yolanda pummeled their towns.

City officials led by Mayor Jonas Cortes turned over a check worth P350,000 to the Municipal Government of Pilar and a check worth P300,000 each to Poro and Tudela.

The town of San Francisco received its assistance three weeks earlier, when the town treasurer claimed the check worth P400,000 at the Mandaue City Hall.

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Also yesterday, Gov. Hilario Davide III said that the Province is willing to provide P2 million to buy pipes and help restore water supply in some Tabuelan barangays.

Tabuelan Mayor Rex Gerona visited the governor yesterday to discuss their water supply problem, which worsened after Yolanda destroyed the pipes that used to connect their water source, a spring, to their reservoir.

Toll

The lack of water in some Tabuelan barangays has gotten so acute that some residents have resorted to collecting water from banana trunks at night.

Typhoon Yolanda, which struck last Nov. 8, left 6,201 people dead and more than 1,700 missing, mostly in Eastern Visayas. It also forced some four million persons out of their homes and damaged P18.35 billion worth of crops and agricultural implements, on top of P18.33 billion in public infrastructure.

Officials of Poro and Pilar in Camotes said they will use the amount from Mandaue City to buy construction materials for the families who lost their homes to the typhoon.
Poro Mayor Luciano Rama said some 600 houses in their town were destroyed.

In Pilar, at least 822 houses need to be rebuilt and 1,693 repaired, said town
councilor Mercury Fernandez Jr.

Tudela Mayor Erwin Yu said they will spend the cash assistance on cacao seedlings to be distributed to 1,700 farmers.

The town developed a one-hectare cacao nursery to provide livelihood to coconut farmers who lost their source of income after the typhoon toppled coconut trees across the island. Cacao seeds are processed as an ingredient in chocolate.

Coping

The Municipal Government has also given fish nets and pump boat engines to fishermen.

Pilar’s Fernandez said they are thankful for the relief goods their town received. The typhoon affected more than 3,000 families in Pilar.

“The typhoon also caused serious damage to infrastructure. We have eight school buildings that were destroyed,” he said in a phone interview.

Three months since the typhoon, power in Pilar has yet to be restored. Fernandez said the Camotes Electric Cooperative is replacing the fallen electric posts with steel ones.

Because pump boats are the only means of transportation to Pilar, which is an islet, bringing the materials to the town is difficult.

Fernandez said the municipal council passed a resolution asking the Cebu Electric Cooperative to help in restoring the electricity.

For now, the Municipal Hall, which is powered by a generator, provides outlets where residents can charge their cellphones and flashlight batteries.

Mandaue’s help

Tudela officials presented a council resolution thanking the Mandaue City Government for its assistance. They also expressed interest to enter into a sisterhood agreement with the City.

Mayor Cortes was accompanied yesterday by councilors Diosdado Suico, Demetrio Cortes Jr., Nenita Ceniza-Layese, Beethoven Andaya, and Benjamin Basiga.

The City has allocated P8.6 million to give financial aid to 15 local government units
in northern Cebu and seven in Leyte.

Last December, checks were turned over to the city of Bogo and the towns of Sogod, Borbon, Tabogon, Medellin, Daanbantayan, San Remigio and Tabuelan.

Last Friday, Cortes and other city officials went to Bantayan Island to deliver the checks to the towns of Sta. Fe, Madridejos and Bantayan Island.

City officials are set to go to Leyte next month to turn over the City’s financial assistance to the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc and the towns of Alang-Alang, Albuera, Palo, Isabel and Kananga.

Parched

For some families in Tabuelan in northern Cebu, the lack of a stable supply of water is the biggest challenge.

These include the mountain barangays of Kanlim-ao, Kantubaon, Kanluhangon, Mabunao and Villahermosa. Some sitios in Barangays Tigbawan, Maravilla and Tabunok also lack water.

In an interview, Mayor Gerona said the town will need around P2 million to buy 450 pieces of four-inch GI pipes to connect the water source to the reservoir.

Governor Davide said the Capitol will help the town, considering that some 1,461 households stand to benefit from the assistance.

“Yes. Atong gipatan-aw sa engineer (I have asked the engineer to check the project)... The Capitol, of course, assists in whatever way we can to help the barangays have water supply,” Davide said.

He also asked Gerona to submit an approved municipal council resolution asking for the amount and explaining how it will be used.

A water supply project was done in the town during the time of then governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

Emergency supply

It was implemented by Rovilla Construction, one of the contractors who have not been paid by the Capitol after the contracts of some projects turned out to lack approval from the previous Provincial Board (PB).

Davide, quoting Gerona, said the water supply project reportedly had the PB’s approval. He asked the mayor to present a copy of approved contract.

Gerona said that at that time the project was implemented, the Capitol provided 10-inch PVC pipes, which connected the water source, Gumbang spring, to the reservoir located in Barangay Mabunao.

But the pipes broke when the town tried to test the water flow, he said.

The pipes were destroyed when typhoon Yolanda struck last Nov. 8.

For the moment, the town uses a fire truck to bring water to the areas that lack water supply.

“Maayo karon kay sige mag-uwan pero kon wa na’y uwan amo lang truck ug fire truck mao’y maghatod og tubig (The rain in recent days helped, but if it stops, then we will rely entirely on our truck and fire truck to distribute water to the families),” Gerona said. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 28, 2014.

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