The last remaining residents of Barangay Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan to be relocated from the future site of the P740-billion Manila International Airport finally moved into their new, sturdier homes in a safer location over the weekend―just in time for the onslaught of super typhoon Rolly, which affected parts of Central Luzon, including Bulacan province.
Fisherman Teody Bacon and other former Sitio Kinse families said that for the first time, they did not fear strong winds and tidal waves, because they felt safer in their new concrete homes in Brgy. Bambang, which they moved into last Saturday, Oct. 31, a day before typhoon Rolly struck.
“Sa bahay namin sa Kinse halos nagdadadasal na lang kami na hindi maanod ng malalakas na hampas ng alon ang aming mga bahay. Nakasanayan na nga naming makipaglaro sa hampas ng alon. Sa bagong bahay namin syempre ay masaya na kami, kasi hindi na namin dadanasin ang hampasin ng malalaking alon ang mga bahay,”said Bacon.
Bacon is thankful for the assistance that San Miguel Corporation (SMC) provided in helping find the 437-square meter lot, and in constructing six houses that took less than three months. The company had also helped to ensure they have water and electrical connection, among others.
“Nagkaroon naman kami ng konkretong bahay na may titulo, may tubig at kuryente. Salamat sa SMC sa pag-alalay nila sa amin mula sa paghahanap ng lote, pagpapatayo ng bahay, at pag-aasikaso sa pagtatransfer ng titulo at higit sa lahat sa pag-aasikaso na magkaroon kami ng sariling tubig at kuryente. Kung kami lang siguro ang nag-asikaso, baka ni-isang papel wala pa kami naaasikaso,” he said.
Even as Bacon admits that he will continue to rely on fishing as a primary source of livelilhood, he said that he and fellow residents will enroll in courses offered by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) in cooperation with SMC.
“Pangingisda pa rin din ang pagkukukunan ko ng ikabubuhay kasi yan na ang nakasanayan naming, at malawak naman ang karagatan. Pero kami po at ang mga misis naming ay gustong mag-aral sa TESDA. Hindi lang kami umabot sa first batch dahil kasalukuyang ginagawa ang mga bahay noon,”he said.
These TESDA courses are to prepare former Taliptip and Bulacan residents for employment and business opportunities in store during the construction and operational phases of the new Manila International Airport.
Among the courses are Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, and Heavy Equipment Operations. Courses like dressmaking and cookery are also offered for those who opt to put up their own small businesses. In addition to the courses, all trainees will also be given seminars on Entrepreneurship, as well as tools to start them on their new trades. The first batch of TESDA students will graduate in November.
SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang earlier said that the courses will be opened to all Bulacan residents who are willing to learn and participate in the development of the airport project, seen to be a game-changer that will boost the country’s economy, which is still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are happy to provide better homes and opportunities to Bulacan residents, particularly residents of Barangay Taliptip. They are now given the chance to rebuild their lives. You can’t help but feel sad when you see their previous homes but we admire them for their strength and resilience. This strengthens our commitment to help them and make sure they will really have a better future,” Ang said.
A total of 277 owners of concrete and shanty houses in Barangay Taliptip qualified for financial assistance. SMC provided owners of non-concrete houses or shanties P250,000 each, while owners of concrete houses were given the appraised value of their homes, multiplied by two, plus P100,000. SMC also provided cash assistance to 87 others who were disqualified, for a total of 364 beneficiaries.
With the help of Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo, SMC also distributed the total appraised cash value of the abandoned chapels in Sitio Pariyahan, Sitio Dapdap, Sitio Bunutan, and Sitio Capol to the 242 residents of these sitios.
Although many decided to stay in Bulacan, some former settlers have moved back to their home provinces namely, Samar, Negros, Nueva Ecija, Sorsogon, Mindoro, Masbate, Camarines Sur, Malabon, Bataan Valenzuela, Paranaque, Dumaguete, and Albay.
SMC said that many former Taliptip residents have completed construction of their new houses and used part of the financial assistance to put up small businesses, or send their children to school.
The Manila International Airport in Bulakan is seen to give birth to new local industries and boost existing businesses, as it will require suppliers, maintenance contractors, food providers, accommodations, and the like. Adjacent to the MIA, the Bulacan Airport City Economic Zone is expected to attract business locators that will provide employment to local residents and boost local government revenues.
The MIA project is capable of handling up to 100 million passengers per year as it will feature four parallel runways with a provision for two more, a world-class terminal. It will be seamlessly connected to Metro Manila and the rest of Central Luzon through existing and new infrastructure developments.