City keeps giving aid to Yolanda survivors

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


MANDAUE City officials led by Mayor Jonas Cortes turned over checks to four local government units in Leyte Province yesterday, three months after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck.

Meanwhile, 12 barangays in Bantayan, Cebu that depend on fishing are on their way to recovery after a non-government group distributed financial assistance to fix bancas damaged by typhoon Yolanda.

With a mix of government funds and private sector support, the 16 million persons affected by Yolanda in more than 12,300 barangays continue to pick up the pieces.

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When the super typhoon struck last Nov. 8, it killed at least 6,201 persons and injured 28,626. At least 1,785 remain missing, according to the Jan. 29 report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

Yolanda also destroyed P19.5 billion worth of infrastructure and P20.2 billion in crops and agricultural equipment.

The Bantayan Island Association of Hotels, Resorts, Bars and Restaurants helped fishers’ associations repair at least 625 boats, so far, under their Back to Sea project.

For his part, Mayor Cortes handed yesterday some checks to Ormoc City Mayor Edward Codilla, Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla, Isabel Mayor Gregorio Cerillo and Albuera Mayor Ramon dela Cerna.

Ormoc received the biggest aid with P600,000. The towns of Kananga and Isabel received P300,000 each, while the town of Albuera got P250,000.

Tacloban City and the towns of Alang-Alang and Palo sent representatives to claim their checks at the Mandaue City Hall last December.

The City gave P600,000 to Tacloban, P300,000 to Palo and P250,000 to Alang-Alang.
Ormoc’s Codilla, in an interview, said the City Government has now received almost P7 million in financial aid, including the amount from Mandaue City.

“We will use the cash aid to purchase a lot for the relocation of homeless typhoon survivors,” he said.

Codilla said that his family also donated a 50-hectare lot to a Taiwanese foundation for the relocation of all informal settlers.

Housing

The Tzu Chi Foundation will build houses on the lot, as well as schools, a public market and a church. The foundation will start constructing houses next month.

The Ormoc City Government will need P2.1 billion for its rehabilitation program. That amount includes P1 billion for social services and P614.2 million for infrastructure.

Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla, a brother of the mayor of Ormoc, said the Municipal Government will spend the cash donation on shelters.

“We are thankful to Mayor Jonas Cortes. We appreciate any cash donation, big or small,” he said.

The typhoon damaged P198.7 million in infrastructure in Kananga, home to 62,000 people. More than 8,000 houses were destroyed and more than 4,000 were damaged, affecting 15,000 families.

Among the donations the town has received were 750 shelter kits from the Swiss Government.

The typhoon affected the livelihood of Kananga residents, majority of whom depend on sugarcane, rice, copra and abaca farming. The damage to agriculture was pegged at P127.1 million.

Tractors, potatoes

In Isabel, Mayor Cerillo said the Municipal Government will add Mandaue’s cash aid to
the P2 million it received from the City Government of Mandaluyong for the purchase of an ambulance and garbage compactor.

The typhoon damaged P43.8 million in government infrastructure in the town.

Cerillo said they also plan to buy four tractors for their farmers, who either lost their carabaos to the typhoon or sold them.

With many coconut trees toppled by the typhoon, Cerillo said they will assist affected farmers in growing sweet potatoes, which they can supply to a bio-ethanol producer in the town.

Albuera’s Dela Cerna said the cash aid will help them repair their public market. They also plan to provide booths at the public market to vendors who lost their homes in Ormoc.

The typhoon damaged P437.3 million in infrastructure and agriculture in Albuera. It destroyed more than 5,000 houses and damaged almost 5,000 others, affecting more than 12,000 families.

No-build zone

Dela Cerna said they will implement the 40-meter no-build zone, but they may not be able to build a new municipal hall and a gymnasium, which stand within the zone, just yet.

“What we will do is to stop the construction of more structures within the zone,” he said.

Mayor Cortes was accompanied yesterday by Councilors Jimmy Lumapas, Diosdado Suico, Beethoven Andaya, Demetrio Cortes Jr., Elstone Dabon, Nenita Ceniza-Layese and Editha Cabahug.

The City has given P9.4 million in financial aid to 22 local government units in Cebu and Leyte.

Since an earthquake struck Bohol and Cebu last Oct. 15, the private sector has also stepped up to raise funds for relief goods and rebuilding supplies.

In the case of Bantayan, Allan Monreal said that the association of hotels, resorts, bars and restaurants meant to show that they cared not only about their businesses, but the entire community.

A seminar led by the group was conducted yesterday for different fishers’ groups, which was held in the Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resorts in Sta. Fe town.

Capital

Monreal and Francisco Martinez Pacheco Jr., owner of the Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resorts, said they thought of the project while discussing how they could help the fishermen.

Monreal said there are already 1,118 members of the project. He said they have submitted documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the approval of a new organization, Damgo sa Kaugmaon, Inc. (Dreams for the Future) that will officially handle the Back to Sea project.

The business association, which had looked for donors, began by giving P50,000 to one organization; they required the beneficiaries to liquidate that first tranche, before adding to the amount.

Michel Lim, project coordinator, explained that the fishers’ groups will just pay back half of the P50,000. Their payments, however, will go back to their association, for
use as capital in other livelihood projects.

During the seminar, the Philippine Cultural Group of Michigan donated P60,000 to the Back to Sea project.

Members of the Humanitarian Aid Project Philippines, Inc. were also there and shared tips on how fishers can start alternative sources of income.

Barangays Talisay, Ocoy and Hilantagaan of Sta. Fe are already covered by the project. So are Atop-atop, Guiwanon, Bantigue, Suba, Sungko and Tamiao in Bantayan town.

Second chance

Officials of the Sungko Fishermen Association received their second cash assistance of P50,000 during the event.

The barangays that joined from Madridejos are Kaungcod, Malbago and San Agustin.

Barangays Ticad, Kabac and Sulangan of Bantayan and Barangay Tarong of Madridejos would also like to avail themselves of the project.

Luis Mansaga, a representative of the fishers’ group of Barangay San Agustin, Madridejos, said they have already repaired 25 boats.

Reynaldo Batuhan of Barangay Talisay, Sta. Fe recalled that about five families evacuated to his house when the typhoon hit. He had placed his boat on higher ground, but Yolanda still wrecked it.

He thanked the donors and officials of the association of resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants in Bantayan for helping him and others resume fishing.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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