THE Energy Development Corporation (EDC) led the groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the Geothermal-Gawad Kalinga Village project in Barangay Malaunay, Valencia, Negros Oriental Thursday morning.

The project will serve as a resettlement area for the 18 families from Sitio Ticala in Caidiocan village that were affected by landslide in 2008.

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EDC tapped the Gawad Kalinga to help the affected residents to build new homes and rebuild their lives at the village site, an area stretching 18,158 square-meter lot donated by a top official of the Couple's for Christ, Constantino Vendiola.

EDC Senior Vice President Agnes de Jesus, who attended the groundbreaking, assured the families that they will fulfill their promise to former Mayor Rodolfo Gonzalez, Jr. to take care of the residents in the geothermal host villages.

"We will not leave you behind," assured de Jesus in a vernacular.

She said the project is scheduled to be turned over to the beneficiaries by November this year.

EDC Resident Manager Enginee Dwight Maxino also said that a total of 20 houses will be built initially to accommodate not only the families affected by landslide but also the families from the thermal area in Sitio Ticala that were affected by the steam.

At least eight families residing in Sitio Ticala have been reported to be affected by the manifestation of steam vents in the area.

EDC officials have offered to relocate said families to the Gawad Kalinga village project in Barangay Malaunay for their own safety. (Victor L. Camion)