Cebu NGO, Austrian humanitarian group to build classrooms, houses

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


SOME northern Cebu towns devastated by typhoon Yolanda will get 134 new classrooms, daycare centers and 300 new houses.

This as the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) pledged to spend P170 million to rebuild classrooms in the towns of Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Sta. Fe and Bantayan.

Yolanda survivors in San Remegio, on the other hand, will get 300 new houses from humanitarian organization Hilsfwerk Austria International (HWA).

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League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter President and Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante said the post-Yolanda rehabilitation program in northern Cebu is only 30 percent complete.

Officials of the beneficiary-towns and the Department of Education (DepEd) signed separate agreements with Rafi and HWA yesterday.

During the signing of agreement in Daanbantayan yesterday morning, DepEd 7 Director Carmelita Dulangon thanked Rafi for the new classrooms and daycare centers that she hoped would be ready for the next school year.

Bigger

Rebecca Pareja Rosell, math teacher in Maya Elementary School in Daanbantayan, said she looks forward to getting new and bigger classrooms, equipped with washrooms.

Maya Elementary School principal Nelson Ybañez said the new classrooms will have a floor area of nine by seven meters. He said that before, the rooms were only eight by six meters.

The agreement on the building of 134 new classrooms and repair of 50 classrooms was signed by Bantayan Mayor Ian Escario, Sta. Fe Mayor Jose Esgana, Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro, Madridejos Vice Mayor Florito Batayola, DepEd Cebu assistant superintendent Roseller Gelig and Rafi chief operating officer Dominica Chua.

A separate agreement was signed among the local government officials and Rafi executive committee chairperson Maria Cristina Aboitiz for the construction of daycare centers in Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Bantayan and Sta. Fe.

Rafi executive director Anthony Dignadice said the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms will cost P150 million while the daycare center project would cost P20 million.

As its partner, the LMP Cebu Chapter will provide the labor for the project.

Donors

Dignadice said the project is supported by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, International Rescue Committee, She Entrepreneurs Organization, Artbang, Art Association of the Philippines, Portrait Artist Society, Metaphil, Sacred Heart School and St. Theresa’s College.

In San Remigio that afternoon, Rafi officials signed an agreement with Mayor Mariano Martinez and HWA, represented by its general director, Heidi Burkhart.

The P15-million project is HWA’s pilot undertaking in Central Visayas.

In the agreement, Martinez committed to provide a two-hectare lot as resettlement site
and conduct training for 100 beneficiaries who can help construct the houses.

The house that HWA will build in San Remegio is projected to cost P50,000 and occupy a land area of 20 square meters, said Mayor Martinez.

Rafi, he said, will evaluate the beneficiaries. To qualify, typhoon survivors must be families who lived in danger zones and lost their houses during Yolanda.

Basics

Chua said the local government will also provide basic amenities for the resettlement area, such as power and water connections, schools and health centers.

Burkhart said HWA chose to implement the project in San Remegio as the town does not get enough support in the reconstruction aspect.

The Municipal Government and project proponents are still discussing the option of letting beneficiaries own the house-and-lot units.

Chua said Rafi will conduct skills training so beneficiaries would have livelihood opportunities.

Diamante said work has been slow because of the extent of the damage. “The damage is so big and wide that is why we're still not halfway,” he added.

Four months passed since Yolanda made landfall in Daanbantayan and Bantayan last Nov. 8.

Diamante said town mayors want to improve their disaster preparedness programs and need an effective public awareness campaign.

Willie Jean Cabanag of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 said the DILG can help local government units launch education campaigns.

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

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