Fire victims itching to rebuild livelihood

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


DESPITE relief and cash assistance of the government to families affected by fire that hit three barangays in Quezon Boulevard in Davao City last April 5, families would prefer that they be allowed to return to their plots of land so they can rebuild their livelihood.

“Lisod nga naa ka lang sa evacuation center. Bisan tuod walay ingon na samok diri, pero ang among problema man gud ang among panginabuhian. Dili pa mi kaaginod kay wala pa man mi kabalo asa mi mu-puyo unya ang ginahatag na tabang sa gobyerno hapit na mahurot (It’s difficult in an evacuation center. There is no crime here, we are well secured, but we would want to start earning again. We can’t rebuild our stores because we do not know where we will be allowed to build our homes and the relief assistance given by government might soon run out),” said Annora Solayman, 35, resident of Purok 3.

Solayman has four children, the youngest is two years old. She said that as a mother, she wanted to start and mount a mini store to earn a living. However, she said she cannot do that, especially they are still temporarily living at the covered court of the Mini-Forest.

“Hantod wala pa mi tarong kapuy-an, dili ko makahimo ug tindahan. Alangan naman biyaan nako na ako mga anak dira para lang mangita ug kwarta. Balay jud ang among kinahanglan, tanawa pa gud na akong anak diraa nag yaka na sa hugaw (I can’t put up a sari-sari store for as long as we don’t have a house yet. I can’t leave my children at the center to earn a living. We badly need a house, just look at my children, they are just sitting on dirt),” Solayman said.

Norhani Membala, 14, a resident of Purok 6, said life in the evacuation center is very inconvenient.

“Ok ra man mi overall. Lisod lang pag wala kay saktong ginapuy-an kay dili jud ka lihok tarong. Kanang mag CR ka, kinahanglan pa nimo magpila, gani hugaw na kaayo ng cr dira kay daghan man gagamit. Unya amo pud na pansin kulang-kulang ang ginahatag na assistance sa amo (Over-all, we’re okay. But it’s really difficult when you don’t have a house, you have to line up to use the toilet. The toilets too become very dirty because many are using them. The relief assistance given is also not enough for all),” Membala said.

Roxanne Balt, 21, a resident of Purok 4, echoed the same concern. Balt, a mother of three children, said the packs they get indicate a bigger amount of goods than what are actually inside.

“Ambot kun unsa ang proseso sa ginahatag na tabang… nakalista sa pack na isa ka dosena pero ang madawat lang namo kay naa ra sa unom, ang uban lima. Naa pay bugas na gihatag na unsa man tawon to uy, mura man ug daot na, baho gud ang bugas (I don’t kow the system, but on the pack it says it contains a dozen packs of noodles and yet there are just six. The rice too is old),” Balt said.

“Tinuod na ba. Arang-arang pa ang NFA (National Food Authority) na bugas kung itandi atong nadawat namo. Unya ingon 10 kilos ang i-hatag, inig timbang namo naa ra sa unom ka kilo. Mura ba ug ginakuhaan na bago ginahatag sa amo (That’s true, NFA rice is better than what we are getting. Also, it says we’re getting ten kilos, but when you weigh them it will only be six kilos),” Samsoden Madale, 28, resident of Purok 2, said.

“Ang among gustong mahitabo naa na unta mi balay na kapuy-an jud namo para makasukad nami. Naa’y cash assistance pero dili man pud mi tugtan mubalik sa lugar kun diin asa among balay na sunog. Among mga anak nagkasakit na tungod sa ka hugaw ug ka bugnaw sa palibot (We need a house so we can rebuild our lives. While we got cash assistance, we’re not allowed to return yet. Our children are getting sick because the cement is cold),” Samsoden said.

“Ako musugot ra gani ko bahala na payag among balay basta kay kami lang naa sud sa amo panimalay. Dili ani ka open, unya wala jud panginabuhian ba. Mag diin-diin pa mi pangita ug pamaagi para lang makasugakod sa inadlaw-adlaw na panginabuhian (I’d be willing to live in a shack for as long as it provides privacy not like what we have here. We also do not have any means of livelihood here),” said Allan Merrato, 30, resident of Purok 2.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, in an interview after a press conference at Grand Men Seng Hotel on Monday, said aside from the cash assistance given to the fire victims, the City Government is also set to provide another set of assistance for the affected families to rebuild their houses.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 23, 2014.

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