TACLOBAN CITY- Typhoon victims who belong to the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) did not only receive food packs but were also provided with houses and livelihood.
The influential religious bloc conducted its dental and medical mission in this typhoon-ravaged city on Friday attended by more than 60,000 people held at the Leyte Sports Development Complex.
The activity was attended by top officials of the INC led by its executive minister Eduardo Manalo amid heavy rains. Classes at the Leyte National High School, Leyte Colleges, Leyte Normal University and the Eastern Visayas State University located within the LSDC were suspended to avoid heavy traffic due to the one-day activity.
Aside from the dental and medical mission, the INC provided food packs to their members who were victims of Yolanda.
The INC readied 150,000 food packs although based on their records, 2,630 of their members in Leyte and Samar were directly hit by Yolanda.
Manalo, meantime, lead in the groundbreaking of the 3,000 hectares area owned by the INC at Sitio New Era, Barangay Langit in Alangalang, Leyte of a housing project dubbed as Self-Sustainable Community Rehabilitation Project.
Glicerio Santos, Jr., INC general auditor, said that about 1,000 of their members who completely lost their houses during the massive typhoon are to be given the free houses the construction of which are to be finished in four months time.
The houses, made of concrete materials and G.I. sheets, have 22 square meters of floor areas and 35 square meters per lot.
Joel Cerira of Barangay Minuhang, Barugo, Leyte , said that he is glad that their church has provided them not only a new home but even a livelihood.
“It’s actually a free house and a livelihood kind of thing. It’s easy for me to decide to live here and leave my hometown,” said Cirera, 50 and is a bachelor.
Inside the sprawling complex, which is more than 20 kms away from the town proper of Alangalang, are the proposed garment factory and an eco-farm.
The proposed garment factory and the eco-farm which is to be planted with rice and vegetables would serve as the livelihood component of the project with the INC members living in the resettlement is to be employed.
Santos said that the entire project is estimated to cost more than a billion pesos with P200 million set aside for the construction of houses.
“And the money were from the INC own funds. We did not solicit from anyone, to include politicians,” he said.
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez lauded the project of the INC saying it would be a big help to the victims of the typhoon.
He described the INC project as a “good example” how should assistance be extended to the victims, an apparent dig to the Aquino administration “slow” assistance to the victims of Yolanda.
“Malaking, malaking bagay itong ibinigay ng Iglesia. It’s a good example and its complete, may mga bahay, may mga pangkabuhayan,” Romualdez who attended the groundbreaking said. (JOEY A. GABIETA)