BORONGAN, Eastern Samar, Nov. 2, 2014—Almost a year after Yolanda, the Diocese of Borongan, headed by Bishop Crispin Varquez, recently released a progress report on its two-phase program for Yolanda-affected communities.
According to the Diocese’s Commission on Social Action, Justice, and Peace (DCSA-JP), the first phase of the program involved emergency response, and was implemented from December 2013 to March 2014, providing survivors their basic needs.
Some 3,000 food packs, courtesy of the Diocese of Naga, and 9,000 non-food item packs containing wash kits, thermal kits, and kitchen utensils were given to devastated communities.
Moreover, unconditional cash grants amounting to P2.5 million benefited as many as 3,500 families, while 2,250 received materials for backyard farming like seeds and agricultural tools.
The DCSA-JP office received and dispensed relief goods and monetary donations from different parts of the world to Yolanda-affected communities.
Once the emergency response was in place, the Borongan see focused on the program’s second phase, recovery and rehabilitation, which started in April 2014 and is expected to run for the next three to five years.
With its partner organizations, the program seeks to provide transitional shelters to 780 households; full latrines to 600, fishing boats and gear to 380 fishermen; farming implements and seedlings to 400 beneficiaries; poultry animals to 300; alternative livelihood opportunities like small businesses to 240; and 100 hogs and 100 goats to various household groups.
Among these partner organizations are the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace (NASSA), Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Germany, Don Bosco, Manos Unidas, Kolping, and LUPPA.
The Borongan Diocese and Don Bosco have since built some 180 transitional shelters in the towns of Mercedes and Salcedos, while in Balangiga, each family in seven barangays received construction materials.
To help survivors earn a living, 160 fishing boats were donated to Yolanda-hit Eastern Samar municipalities.
Furthermore, the diocese plans to conduct interventions for building disaster-resilient communities.
Leadership development programs for community leaders are also set to strengthen capacities of community groups like livelihood associations and sector groups, as well as to support parish efforts. (Raymond A. Sebastián)