Providing houses lost

TWO years after Typhoon Pablo, the survivors are slowly recovering from its effects -- slowly recovering, at least, for their social concerns. But how about their housing needs?

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDDRRMC), Pablo's total damage reached at least P36 billion, affecting 711,682 families or 6,243,998 people in 3,064 villages in 318 towns and 40 cities in 34 provinces.

Exactly two years after one of the strongest storms, Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy said the province is doing its best to provide the shelters his constituents need.

Progress may be visible in terms of agriculture, environment and infrastructure but thousands of survivors remain homeless.

Uy projected that the houses to be built will be finished in two years time; that is by 2016, hopefully.

The province, which bore the brunt of Pablo in terms of deaths and destruction when Pablo struck on December 4 two years ago, counted at least 27,000 houses destroyed across 11 municipalities.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) last year, President Benigno Aquino III said the government would build 53,106 houses in Pablo-devastated areas by 2014.

Aquino also ordered the creation of a task force to focus on the rehabilitation of the two typhoon-stricken provinces, with the national government allocating some P10 billion for the task.

National agencies, like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Housing Authority (NHA), are the main implementers of the housing program for the typhoon survivors.

In Compostela Valley, the government targets 15,000 on-site homes (areas where recipients' houses used to stand), while 12,000 in areas away from where their former homes were.

Recently, Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, Task Force Pablo head, graced the ceremonial grand turnover of more than 3,000 new housing units held at the New Bataan Resettlement Project 1 in Barangay San Roque on November 25.

The various beneficiaries came from New Bataan and towns in Compostela, Montevista, Monkayo and Laak affected by the Typhoon Pablo.

Almendras said the local governments' efforts in pushing for immediate recovery and rehabilitation.

"Selebrasyon ni kay atong gipakita sa tibuuk Pilipinas nga kung magtinabangay ta, kung mag uban ta, walay dili nato (imposibleng) buhatun," he said.

During the project briefing, Atty. Chito M. Cruz, NHA general manager, also revealed that for Pablo victims, a total of 17,202 housing units are in various stages of development with 14,111 of these in Comval and the rest in Davao Oriental.

"Kami po ay naatasan 'to build back better' upang makatiyak na mabibigyan ang ating mga kababayan ng mas maayos, mas ligtas at mas magandang permanenteng tirahan," he added.

Implemented under the Rehabilitation Program of the NHA, the duplex-type house and lot package is worth P220,000 each.

In the day's ceremonial program, the housing units include the following: San Antonio Village in Barangay Maparat, Compostela; Lower Ulip Resettlement Project in Poblacion, Monkayo; Sariwarain Village in Barangay Union, Monkayo; New Bataan Resettlement Project 2 in Barangay Andap, New Bataan; Vida Vista 3 in Barangay New Visayas, Montevista; Mont Eagle Ville in Barangay Kidawa, Laak and the New Bataan Resettlement Project 1 where the program venue was held, with 1,214 housing units turned over.

Compostela Valley officials led by Governor Arturo Uy, Vice Governor Manuel Zamora, Provincial Board members and municipal mayors of the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to the National Government through the NHA for their continued assistance.


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