TACLOBAN City, Leyte, Aug. 18, 2015—Some 550 families affected by super typhoon “Yolanda” are expected to move out of Tacloban’s danger zones soon into the safety of their own new houses in a forthcoming in-city settlement near their workplaces.
“This only proves that in-city housing is possible. We can provide permanent housing to the people of Tacloban without taking them away from their livelihood,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, in a statement.
For Denis Murphy of the Urban Poor Associates, in-city relocation will not only allow each breadwinner to earn income but also provide a playground where children of the beneficiaries can play.
While providing permanent shelters to typhoon survivors, the “Pope Francis Village” also seeks to be a “people-driven model community” that will restore the people’s sources of income through organic farming.
Among other amenities, it is planned to have a daycare center, a school, a chapel, and a basketball court.
Members of the community were likewise involved in all aspects of the project, from the design of the houses to the identification of livelihood options and disaster-risk reduction planning.
The project is expected to be completed by September 2016.
It is being implemented by the FRANCESCO (Pope Francis for Resilient and Co-Empowered Sustainable Communities), a consortium of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, Urban Poor Associates, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palo, and the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R.).
It aims to benefit residents of the nine barangays in the so-called danger zones in Tacloban, which suffered most from storm surges caused by Yolanda in 2013.
Earlier in June, a move by the local government to transfer about 3,000 families from this same area were not carried out following protests by the people.
Palo Archbishop John F. Du on Monday, Aug. 17, oversaw the groundbreaking ceremony of the 12-hectare project named for the Holy Father in gratitude for the mercy and compassion he shared with Taclobanons. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)