Caritas turns over community-managed post-Yolanda projects

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Palo Archdiocese Vicar-General Msgr. Rex Ramirez and Caritas Palo Director Al Cris Badana (left) turn over drinking faucets and a handwashing facility in Brgy. Dacay Elem. School as part of the post-Yolanda recovery and resiliency projects of Caritas in the typhoon-hit village. (Photo: Eileen Ballesteros)

DULAG, Leyte, March 11, 2016 – Miracles do happen, at times, with the help of other people.

Caritas Palo turned over on Feb. 27 to Brgy. Dacay here one gravity-fed potable water system with drinking faucets and handwashing facility, and rice post-harvest facilities, proving “people power” is the factor behind two successful post-Yolanda resiliency projects in this province.

These projects were made possible through the cooperation of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Philippines (CBCP-NASSA) as part of their contribution to recovery efforts in areas hit by the super typhoon in 2013.

The PhP450,000 Level II Water System sourced from the adjacent mountain supplies drinkable water to 17 tap stands spread throughout the barangay proper.

About 160 households with 657 residents in the barangay will benefit from the projects.

However, the PhP800,000 post-harvest facilities will be shared by farmers associations in Brgy. Dacay and Brgy. Magsaysay, also of this town.

Th water system also includes drinking faucets and a hand-washing facility in Brgy. Dacay Elementary School.

Speaking on behalf of Palo Archbishop John Du, Vicar-General Msgr. Rex Ramirez expressed the prelate’s appreciation that the RRU of the Archdiocese has come up with such sustainable projects in the village.

He called on the beneficiaries of the two projects to include in their prayers the benefactors of Caritas, who also deserve their thanks.

Miracles through others

“Your patron saint here is St. Anthony, the saint of miracles answered your prayers, but miracles do not just happen without the help of other people and your cooperation,” he said.

“One of the best ways to express one’s gratitude is to maintain these facilities given to you,” said Ramirez.

Caritas Palo Director Fr. Al Cris Badana in his speech lauded the cooperation as well of barangay residents that led to the projects’ success.

The earth work of the said water system started in November last year.

He called on the beneficiaries to sustain their interest in caring for the facilities so that the next generation will be able to enjoy them as well.

Sustainable if maintained

Two persons were trained by Caritas Palo to regularly look after the low-maintenance, less chlorination-required and gravity-fed potable water distribution system, according to Badana.

The Level II Water System costing about Php450,000 supplies downhill spring water from a nearby mountain at 0.5 liter per second.

In the summer, it can still provide 0.2 liters per second which, according to Badana, will still be sufficient for the needs of Brgy. Dacay residents.

Caritas Palo WASH officer Angelica Laput , in a brief exclusive interview, disclosed that Caritas Palo is currently facilitating the formulation of a BAWASA policy for the protection of the watershed area as well as of the entire facility.

“This policy will then serve as benchmark for the passage of barangay ordinances that will penalize those that will vandalize the facility and ruin the watershed,” Laput said.

Pro-environment and Christ-inspired

Ronald Abao, program manager of Caritas Palo, said the water system adapts a nature-based technology filtering the water using burnt rice hulls.

He said these projects are among the Church’s interventions to develop the capacity of typhoon survivors to rebuild their lives.

Abao further emphasized that Caritas Palo’s motivation in all these endeavors is “Jesus as center of all our works.”

In the turn-over ceremony at Brgy. Dacay Elementary School, Mayor Manuel Sia Que; village chief Rosario Alicando; school head Rodenette Odtohan-Cagara; Dacay Framers Association president Agapito Tangpus; and Barangay (Dacay) Water Association representative Roberto Odtohan Sr., expressed gratefulness to God and to the Caritas organizations for the said projects.

Besides these projects, Caritas Palo also handed over rice post-harvest facilities to Brgy. Santol, and a Level II Water System to Brgy. Tabangohay both in Alangalang, Leyte.

Since its creation after the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda, Caritas Palo has been serving 20 barangays in nine municipalities within the archdiocese.

Badana reported that following the registration of the Archdiocese’s RRU (Caritas Palo) it will soon be a permanent office in the organizational structure of the Archdiocese.  (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News) 

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