Residents of 11 coastal villages in Tacloban who heavily suffered the brunt of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) will finally be awarded with permanent housing units funded by the Roman Catholic Church after almost three years of waiting.
At least 263 units will be awarded to recipients on Nov. 21 for families living along the coastal communities of San Jose, Magallanes, Pampango, and Old Road Sagkahan flattened by the 2013 monster typhoon.
Some 303 units have been completed since the construction started in 2015, but only 263 units are ready for occupancy as of this week, according to Urban Poor Associates.
Pope Francis Village is a PHP75-million project located at a 12-hectare land in Diit village. It has 566 housing units. It is known as a housing project that is people-driven employing participatory and bottom-up approach of rehabilitation work.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the 546th Engineering Construction Battalion of the Philippine Army helped in the site development.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Shelter Core Program, has provided PHP38 million, or PHP70,000 per housing unit.
The project is a product of a consortium of organizations called Francesco, led by the Canadian Catholic for Development and Peace, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines—National Secretariat for Social Action, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Archdiocese of Palo through Caritas-Palo, and the Urban Poor Associates.
“I never thought that I will own a house like this,” said Yolanda Sembrero, a mother of four.
Sembrero’s family is from San Jose, a coastal village facing San Pedro Bay. Her husband is a pedicab driver while she works as volunteer at the Pope Francis Village.
Part of the requirement for recipients is to help in the construction of the housing project and shoulder the expenses to improve the interior of the house.
The concept allows them to check the progress of the construction and ensure that specifications are followed.
“Our hope now is for other housing project to replicate the process that we did. The community must be involved in the construction. The contractors should ask the beneficiaries through a dialogue if what kind of design and how their house should be built,” Sembrero said.
Also called as in-city relocation, the housing project is located five kilometers from the city’s commercial district, unlike National Housing Authority projects, which are 10 kilometers away from the commercial hub.
“This is a factor that was considered when this project was conceptualized because most of the beneficiaries comes from fishing communities,” Joli Torella, Urban Poor Associates community organizer, said on Monday.
“The beneficiaries must stay closer to the source of their livelihood so that their stay in their new house will not be affected by problems on looking where to get the support they need for their daily survival,” Torella added.
The project’s original completion target is 2016, but fund releases hamper its completion.
Once completed, the housing site will have its own multi-purpose building, day care center, health center, school campus, material recovery facility, commercial building, and park and playgrounds. (PNA)
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