THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo inspected Thursday, January 12, the progress of the DSWD-assisted housing project for Typhoon Yolanda survivors at the Pope Francis village in Barangay Diit, Tacloban City.

The DSWD said it allotted a total amount of P38,500, giving a counterpart of P70,000 for each unit. The total cost per housing unit is P300,000 for the structure alone.

The project aims to build around 550 permanent and disaster-resilient homes for Tacloban, the hardest-hit area when the world’s strongest typhoon, Yolanda (Haiyan), devastated central Philippines in November 2013, leaving thousands homeless.

The counterpart funding also comes from the consortium of international humanitarian organizations -- the Associates of the Urban Poor, Archdiocese of Palo, Redemptorist Fathers, and CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace, Development and Peace, according to DSWD records.

The agency said the beneficiaries of this integrated, people–driven model community are fishermen, vendors, trike drivers and other indigent folks, especially those from Magallanes and San Jose districts of Tacloban City.

During her visit at the housing site, Taguiwalo was impressed by the unified participation of the community in the construction of resettlement project.

The project is a "contractor-less" one, said Ariel Nones, the project coordinator.

“No contractor was hired, only in-house engineers assisted by the beneficiaries as laborers,” Nones added.

The laborers, many of them went on skills training such on masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical installation, were paid P260 per day through cash for work scheme.

At present, about 14 units were completed and 40 others are ongoing construction.

The community is envisioned to be complete with facilities.

The consortium has built one six-classroom school building worth P7 million. It now stands at the nearby compound of the Scandinavian National High School.

"Maganda ang eksperimento at naging bahagi kayo (It was a worthy experiment, with you being a part of it)," Taguiwalo said, referring to the deep involvement of the local residents in the project. (SunStar Philippines)