'Pablo' survivors from ComVal, DavOr get houses

Subscribe Now August 27, 2013 at 07:52am

More than eight months after experiencing a horrendous Christmas when Typhoon "Pablo" made a landfall, residents of at least five Compostela Valley towns and Cateel town in Davao Oriental province could now look forward to a joyful celebration in December.

In Compostela Valley, the provincial government has started the construction of 1,265 houses, each costing P70,000, for those whose homes were destroyed by the typhoon on Dec. 4 last year, Araceli Timogtimog, provincial general services office chief, said.

Timogtimog said 146 houses would be built in New Bataan town, 632 in Monkayo town, 247 in Compostela town, 143 in Laak town, and 97 in Montevista town.

She said the provincial government had set aside nearly P88.6 million for the project.

About P70 million of the total budget would be used for housing materials while some P22.6 million would be for the labor component, according to Josephine Frasco, Compostela Valley’s provincial social welfare officer.

Compostela Valley was among two Mindanao provinces that suffered the brunt of Pablo’s wrath with nearly 1,000 deaths. Dozens of others remained missing to this day and had been considered among those who perished in the floods and slides that the typhoon had triggered.

In the said province alone, over 30,000 houses were destroyed by the typhoon and many of those left homeless remain in evacuation centers to this day.

Frasco said the money for the house-building program came from the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Modified Shelter Assistance Program.

In Cateel, Davao Oriental, 50 Pablo victims from Barangay Poblacion were also set to receive shelter homes funded by Sen. Cynthia Villar.

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon said provincial officials were thankful to Villar as “pursuits on livelihood and other recovery endeavors would not kick off until the security and comforts of a home is provided.”

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon said provincial officials were thankful to Villar as “pursuits on livelihood and other recovery endeavors would not kick off until the security and comforts of a home are provided.”

Villar on Aug. 17 also distributed seeds, farm tools and organic fertilizer to 1,732 farmers in Cateel.

In Davao City, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said it was appealing anew for financial support for victims of calamities, including that of Pablo.

Mel Schmidt, UN-OCHA humanitarian affairs officer for Davao, said that while the UN wanted to help more people, it didn’t have sufficient funds to address humanitarian needs.

He said the UN-OCHA had solicited $76 million and raised about $42 million.

“The amount funded various short-term aid to the Pablo victims in typhoon-hit areas in Mindanao particularly Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, the hardest-hit areas,” Schmidt said.

Growth with Equity for Mindanao (GEM), a US-funded agency, has also been helping the banana industry, which suffered losses of up to P1 billion.

Banana exporters could no longer satisfy their commitments to customers in such prime markets as the United States because of the huge damage the typhoon wrought to their plantations, an official of Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association earlier said.

The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said Pablo’s devastation also drove down the country’s banana production as the Davao region alone, which has over 87,000 hectares (not 14,732 as reported earlier), contributes 41 percent to the country’s total banana output.

Compostela Valley, the region’s hardest-hit area, was contributing 14 percent to the country’s total output before Pablo’s landfall.

GEM said the P201 million that Washington made available to southern Mindanao was for USAID’s ongoing disaster recovery assistance program.

Source: inquirer.net

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