About 660 family-survivors from Capiz and Iloilo are now proud homeowners of core shelter units through the Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in partnership with the UN Habitat for Humanity, and with funding support from the People of Japan.
The homeowners received their Certificates of Occupancy during the turnover ceremony last week in Barangay Pawa, Panay and Belle Village III, Pontevedra, which are both in Capiz.
CSAP provides disaster victims with permanent shelter units that can withstand typhoons with wind velocity of up to 220 kilometers per hour and earthquakes up to intensity 4. These are also constructed in safe relocation areas.
DSWD provided P42.7 million as a counterpart fund for the project. UN Habitat managed the construction of the housing units.
The houses are located in Panay, Pontevedra, and Roxas City, all in Capiz; and Estancia, Iloilo.
The beneficiaries of the housing project expressed their gratitude to DSWD and partners for their brand-new, sturdy homes.
Ramir Barrera, 39, from Brgy. Pawa said, “Nagpapasalamat kami dito sa bagong bahay na binigay sa aming pamilya (We are really grateful for this house given to us).”
Another beneficiary, May Deleona, 23, with her six-month-old son Nathan Lance, enthused, “Grabe gid ang pasalamat namon kay nakabalay kami. Ang amon balay totally gid, gin ubos gid ni ‘Yolanda’ guba (We are very thankful because we now have a house. Our previous home was totally washed out by typhoon Yolanda).”
Likewise, Nora Vegas stated, “Indi gid kami maka-balay sang amo sini ka dalagku kun wala sa inyo bulig. Ang amon mga hayob hayob sang una nagkala-washout gid (Building a house this big would not be possible without the help of the government. Our small huts were totally washed out).”
On the other hand, Joan Alcazarin of Belle Village III, Pontevedra, Capiz, a mother of seven children, said, “Pamatyagan ko mas nag gwapa ako kay nagapauli ako sa manami kag mabakod nga balay (I feel like I am more beautiful now that I’m going home to a nice and sturdy house).”
“Tungod sa bagyo ang amon haligi gatakilid. Daw buktot ako kon magtig-ang. Pasalamat gani kami kay gintagaan kami trapal pagkatapos sang bagyo. Kun wala pa gid trapal, daw wala na ko paagi kun diin ko patulugon ang akon mga puya kay sa atop kag sa dingding nagasulod ang ulan (The typhoon destroyed our house. It leaned on one side and so I had to bend my back often when cooking. We were just thankful that we were given tents immediately after the typhoon. Had we not been given the tents, rain water would get us all wet because water passes through our roof and walls),” she added.
She expressed how grateful she is of the help that their family has received saying, “Indi na ako magbuktot kon magdegamo, safety na amon tulog, safe kami sa amon balay, bisan todo ulan wala na kami nahadlok. Madamo gid nga salamat (I won’t have to bend my back anymore when I cook meals, we are safe while sleeping and at home, and even when it rains hard, we are not scared.)”
More than providing the beneficiaries with safer homes, CSAP is a community development initiative utilizing the principles of community organizing, convergence of services, and capability building.
Under the program, the beneficiaries are organized into a Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA), wherein they participate in the actual construction of their respective units.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman urged the beneficiaries to ensure that their houses continue to be in good condition.
“Eto ay patunay ng inyong kakayahang baguhin ang inyong katayuan sa buhay dahil kayo ang nagpursigi para ang mga ito ay maitayo (These are the proof of your ability to improve your situation in life because you persevered to build these yourselves),” Sec. Soliman said.
They also undergo Values Formation Orientation and other capability building sessions to understand their situation and problems at hand, and to intently work to arrive at solutions.
“We would like to commend the people, the homeowners. You have made us believe that people’s process works. Now, we can say that we can do this to the rest of the country, as well,” said Christopher Rollo, Country Programme Manager of UN Habitat during the turnover ceremony.
Consultation with community groups helped UN Habitat design and refine the sturdy homes to meet the basic needs of the beneficiaries.
The design was developed in collaboration with the Capiz chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines, and its structural integrity has been checked by the Capiz chapter of the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines.
Partner BDO Foundation also donated a Multi-purpose building, which will serve as a venue for community activities and as an evacuation center.