MORE assistance from government will be released to typhoon Yolanda survivors in northern Cebu.
Yesterday, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) 7 Director Wilfreda Misterio turned over a check for P12.586 million to Gov. Hilario Davide III to finance a cash-for-work program for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their families who were affected by the typhoon.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 Director Aster Caberte, on the other hand, turned over certificates that will enable recipients in Bogo City to start retail businesses.
The graduation of more than 1,500 Yolanda survivors from training courses conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) also coincided with the ceremony marking the year after a super typhoon made two landfalls in northern Cebu.
Davide thanked Owwa, Tesda and DTI, as well as local and international groups that helped Yolanda survivors.
Davide said Capitol has released about P240 million or 86 percent of the assistance promised to Yolanda survivors.
Misterio said the P12.586 million is the second tranche of Owwa’s cash-for-work fund. The first tranche of P9 million was released last May.
The assistance from DTI gives beneficiaries a chance to establish mini sari-sari stores. Beneficiaries are those who completed a store management course.
Caberte said the assistance under the Livelihood Seeding Program includes the distribution of P5,000-worth of retail store items. The DTI identified 1,000 beneficiaries under the program.
Caberte said DTI distributed 100 sets of retail store items in Daanbantayan last Oct. 27 and another 100 in Bogo, Medellin and San Remigio on Nov. 6. Today, DTI will distribute retail items to 100 beneficiaries in Bantayan.
Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, commended 717 skills training graduates from Bogo City, Borbon, Daanbantayan, San Remigio and Sogod and 828 residents of Medellin who completed a similar course.
During the Yolanda commemoration ceremony, Office of the Presidential Assistance on Rehabilitation and Recovery Undersecretary Leslie Cordero said P8 billion of the P14.5-billion Cebu rehabilitation fund approved by President Benigno Aquino III will be used for the resettlement of families living in high-risk areas in northern Cebu.
“We now prepare for the future as there will be more strong typhoons. Dili kapugngan kining mga kalamidad apan kapangandaman (We can’t stop these calamities from happening but we can prepare for them,” Davide said.
Meanwhile, churches belonging to the Archdiocese of Cebu will ring their bells at 6 p.m. today to commemorate the first anniversary of typhoon Yolanda. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also declared today a “National Day of Prayer,” to honor the victims and survivors of the typhoon.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma told reporters that the ringing of the bells is a way for Catholics to unite in prayer for those who died and survived the typhoon.
“We are encouraged to look back at the past year. And, of course, to remember and offer prayers,” he said. “The celebration of masses is fitting to honor those who died as we ask the Lord to strengthen those who are left behind,” Palma said.
He said the event is also a way to remember those who helped survivors.
The Archdiocese of Cebu, together with the National Secretariat for Social Action of the CBCP and Vatican-based Caritas Internationales, built 350 houses in San Remigio, Bogo City and Daanbantayan.
Fr. Charles Jayme, rehabilitation and relief head of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the church also provided 153 fishing boats and 255 fishing gear to affected fishermen, especially in the island towns, and implemented other livelihood projects to 721 beneficiaries in northern Cebu.