TACLOBAN CITY – About 400 housing units, all typhoon-resilient, are to be constructed in the northern part of this city by the SM Foundation. The two-hectare lot at the New Kawayan was donated to the foundation by the archdiocese of Palo as part of its assistance to storm survivors whose houses were washed out during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda. The housing project of the SM Foundation had its ground-breaking last October 21 attended by top officials of the foundation led by SM Supermall president Annie Garcia and Archbishop John Du. City officials led by city administrator Jenny Manibay and city housing officer Maria Lagman were also present.

The beneficiaries of the housing project, dubbed as SM Cares Village, has yet to be selected but sources said that the priority are those from Barangay 88 of San Jose District, considered as worst-hit area in Tacloban due to Yolanda. The 400 housing units are expected to be finished in six to eight months, Garcia said. Close to a year after Tacloban was pummeled by Yolanda, there are still over 1,000 families living in bunk houses and over 500 families living in tents. Archbishop Du said that the two-hectare lot was donated by the archdiocese to the SM Foundation as part of its assistance to the government’s rehabilitation effort for the families who totally lost their houses during the killer typhoon which is to mark its first year anniversary this November 8. “Today in this parcel of land, a new home is born for many families,” he said.

He also emphasized that the soon to be built permanent houses will not only be buildings, but a community of love as he called it. “What we will soon start to build in this place are not only houses, but home. Because a home is what comprises a community,” the archbishop added. Garcia said that their foundation would work with the city government as to the beneficiaries of their project. “We are going to be working with the local government and also the other organizations in identifying who will be given these houses,” Garcia pointed out. (CARLENE MADGE MORANTTE, LNU Intern)