Workers from 12 countries in Cebu to build houses

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Sunday, August 31, 2014


INSURANCE company Pru Life UK and Prudential Corp. Asia’s charity, the Prudence Foundation, have sent 80 employee-volunteers from 12 countries to build houses in Barangay Maricaban, Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island.

Prudence Foundation Executive Director Marc Fancy said this will continue their long-term commitment to contribute to the recovery of the Visayas, which is still rebuilding nearly 10 months after Yolanda struck.

They hope to turnover this month some livelihood projects, including 183 new motorized boats and 140 tricycles for survivors in Sta. Fe people.

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Meanwhile, three international non-government organizations donated a three-classroom building to the Sta. Fe National High School.

Private sector support

The Young Pioneer Disaster Response (YPDR) and Polish Humanitarian Action (PHA) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last August 25 during the formal turnover of the classroom building.

Santa Fe is among the 15 towns and one city in northern Cebu that were badly hit by typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) last Nov. 8.

The typhoon killed more than 6,200, severely damaged or destroyed around one million houses all over the Visayas, and wrecked nearly P40 billion in crops and infrastructure.

Resources donated by private organizations, both local and foreign, have been crucial in fixing schools, rebuilding houses and restarting livelihoods.

In an interview, Christopher White, president and co-founder of YPDR, said the three-classroom building they built in Sta. Fe was worth P2 million.

YPDR and PHA broke ground for the project last June. They finished the building last week.

White said they also coordinated with the Department of Education for the project. The PHA and the International Labor Organization provided funds for the labor costs.
YPDR handled the site development.

1,000 students

According to a press release forwarded by YPDR media coordinator Katlyn Murray, the inauguration was attended by Philippine Ambassador to Poland Patricia Paez, PHA president Janina Ochojska, PHA project coordinator Maria Lukowska, Santa Fe National High School principal Marianico Ilustrisimo and White.

At present, about 1,000 students attend classes in that school.

“The goal of YPDR and PAH’s joint programs has always been to provide the most comprehensive aid to the people of Bantayan Island. This beautiful new three-classroom building, which replaces a building completely condemned by typhoon Yolanda, will be used to educate children for generations to come and is a testament to effective disaster response,” White said.

YPDR has been in Bantayan Island since last December to help in the rehabilitation.

In partnership with different international organizations, their programs include housing and school rehabilitation, medical missions, livelihood projects, community outreach and marine life restoration.

They have built at least 850 shelters and trained 105 carpenters.

White said they are now focusing on housing and a marine restoration project.

Resilience

As for the Pru Life UK and Prudence Foundation’s efforts, Fancy said the Regional PruVolunteer Program is part of the US$2-million (or almost P87-million) commitment of Prudence Foundation to support the relief and long-term recovery efforts in areas affected by typhoon Yolanda.

The Prudence Foundation volunteers arrived in Sta. Fe yesterday and will help build houses for one week.

“These houses are designed to be resilient to disasters like earthquakes and typhoons, and the roof can withstand a 260-kilometer per hour typhoon,” Fancy said.

Part of the funds were also contributed by Pru Life UK’s sister-companies and their employees in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia and the United Kingdom.

Antonio Manuel de Rosas, Pru Life UK president and CEO, said that Mayor Jose Esgana of Sta. Fe and the municipal government were the ones who identified the beneficiaries of 135 houses, 183 boats and 140 tricycles.

Prudence Foundation works with non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies. Its housing project, for example, is implemented by Habitat for Humanity; its education program, by Plan International; and the livelihood projects are managed and monitored by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the local government.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2014.

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