Rising from Pablo

IN DECEMBER 4, 2012, Super Typhoon Pablo, considered to be the second strongest typhoon that hit the Philippines between 1947 to 2014, ravaged the towns in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

About 1,901 of lives were lost and around P39.949 billion worth of properties and farms were damaged.

With the extent of destruction, local and international government agencies, civic organizations, and even private individuals worked hand-in-hand to help the affected communities to recover and move on.

Shelters and livelihood assistance were among the main interventions extended to them.

In Compostela Valley, there have been roughly 69,000 houses and about a hundred classrooms that were donated by organizations such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), provincial governments of Bataan, Aklan and Iloilo, Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation (GK), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), AY Foundations, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Philippine Red Cross, Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation, Aboitiz Corporation, and San Miguel Corporation, and Holcim, among others.

Machines like tractors, chainsaws, skills trainings, seeds for planting and cash assistance intended for livelihood were also extended to farmers in Compostela Valley to be able to begin again.

In Davao Oriental, about 1,000 families in Davao Oriental have received P37.8-million grant from the Australian government and the International Labor Organization (ILO) intended for sustainable agricultural livelihood.

The ILO has also helped in rehabilitating several affected facilities in Davao Oriental through provision of wage and work to member of associations and cooperatives. Among the areas rehabilitated were the ecological park in Cateel which is managed by Community Forestry Programme Taytayan Multipurpose Cooperative (CFP Taytayan MPC), a 5.6-kilometer irrigation canal in Brgys San Antonio and Taytayan, Day Care Center and Barangay Hall in Barangay San Rafael, Cateel, and the Municipal Agriculture Nursery of Boston. The organization also helped establish a lobster production pen for three fisherfolk associations in Barangays Poblacion, Cabasagan and Sibajay, Boston.

The regional offices of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao and Department of Agriculture also launched the Hot Pablo program which taught people in Baganga, Cateel, Caraga, and Boston in Davao Oriental on hot chili production and processing as an alternative source of income since most of the coconut plantations were destroyed.

While some of the jobs were temporary such as cash-for-work, most of them were launch pads toward more sustaining livelihood.

These are just some efforts that have uplifted the lives of the typhoon-affected communities, giving them enough reason to recover and move on. Typhoon Pablo may have shattered lives but the deep concern for others helped these people rise above the storm and continue to live for years ahead.


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