As directed by Pres. Duterte
TACLOBAN CITY-When this city was pummeled by supertyphoon “Yolanda” on November 8, 2013, Elena Bituon did not only lose her two young children but all their material possessions.
Bituon, 29, said that while the lives of her children, Argel, 7 and Shaun Rinzel, 10 months old, could not be recovered, at least Yolanda gave them something to cheer about: a new and concrete house.
Bituon, whose husband Arjun,32 works as a fish vendor, was among the 280 families from Barangay 88 in San Jose district, worst hit area due to the onslaught of Yolanda, who were resettled at their new permanent houses located at North Hill Arbours in Barangay Santo Niño, 13 kms away from the city center, on Monday (Nov.28).
“This is now our new home and beginning today, we will start to build our dreams and our future,” Bituon said.
The couple has still two children, Jirah Faith, 8, and Jade Ivan, 1 year old.
“I could say now that Yolanda turned out to be a blessing. We may have lost our two children, whose bodies were not recovered until now, but we have now a new house which is big and better compared to our shanty in San Jose,” the housewife said.
The military trucks as well as vehicles from the city government helped the families during their transfer to their new homes which were provided with electricity with water still to be rationed by the city government for their daily uses.
Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, presidential assistantfor the Visayas, said that the resettlement of the 280 families to their new permanent houses was a result of the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to relocate families still living in danger zones and temporary shelters to the permanent houses.
The transfer of the families, the initial group out of the 12,000 families that need to be relocated, came 18 days after Mr. Duterte issued the directive to Dino during his Nov.8 visit, coinciding the third year commemoration of Yolanda’s onslaught to Tacloban, considered the ground zero of the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland.
“This is what we call the Duterte Express. This happenned just 18 days after his visit (here in Tacloban),” Dino said.
According to Dino, when the President learned that there are still 12,000 families still to be relocated three years after Yolanda’s onslaught, he made right away the decision to relocate all of them by December.
“We cannot promise that we can relocate them all but we will do our very best to do that,” Dino said, referring to the presidential December deadline.
As part of the package, six buses owned by the Ceres Bus Liners were “loaned” to the government which will serve as service vehicle for the residents for the next six months, he added.
“Lumalabas ang malasakit ni Presidente. Nakita natin ang tapang niya kontra sa droga; nakita naman natin dito ang malasakit ni Presidente sa mga pamilya,” Dino said.
Dorcas Secreto, estate specialist management of the National Housing Authority (NHA-8), said that out of the 14,433 houses to be constructed in the 11 resettlement sites, 4,346 are ready for occupancy while the rest of the houses are still in “various stages of construction.”
She also said that based on their records, 2,101 families have been resettled at RidgeView 1 and 2 in Barangay Cabalawan; 172 families at Villa Sofia in Brgy.Tagpuro; 322 families at Villa Diana in Brgy. New Kawayan and 720 families at the Tacloban North Village in Brgy.Cabalawan.
Mayor Cristina Romualdez said that she is happy for the speedy assistance of the President to help the affected families relocated to their new permanent shelters.
“We will really do our best that all the remaining families will be relocated to their new permanent shelters,” she said.
The city government, with the assistance of other government agencies, is to provide livelihood assistance to the beneficiaries, Romualdez added.(with report LIZBETH ANN A.ABELLA)