Church launches comprehensive ‘Yolanda’ program

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An aerial shot of the town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, facing the sea reveals the scope of rehabilitation that needs to be done after typhoon Yolanda. (AFP Central Command)

PALO, Leyte, August 13, 2014—The Catholic Church in the Philippines has been rolling out as much as 9.7 million euros, or over P513 million, in a comprehensive program for survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda”. 

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), confirmed over Radyo Veritas recently that nine dioceses in Palawan, Cebu, and Panay will benefit from the project.

He said, “Each of these nine dioceses has its own target number of houses which they have already begun building.”

Gariguez explained, “Being a comprehensive program, it is not just about shelters, it also involves giving beneficiaries the means of livelihood.”

The multimillion-peso program, funded by donations from Caritas International and other church-based organizations, is set to include the rebuilding of houses destroyed by the calamity, livelihood assistance for the survivors of the typhoon, disaster risk reduction efforts, and community organization over a three-year period.

Gariguez shared his office is currently scouting for an ideal resettlement site in the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte where the Church proposes to build a “model community” with additional 500 new housing units.

“We are very particular about the site, that’s why it is taking us time to choose one. Of course, we want the land safe from flood, and as close to the places of livelihood as possible,” said the priest.

Tacloban City, the commercial and political hub of Leyte province in Region VIII, which took the brunt of typhoon Yolanda, leaving thousands of locals dead and many more homeless in 2013, is under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Palo headed by Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du.

Besides CBCP-NASSA and Caritas International, many other Catholic agencies like Caritas Manila and Saint John the Baptist Parish (Quiapo Church) are actively engaged in the rehabilitation of areas affected by the typhoon.

This is a project by the local Church and Caritas Philippines, through the kindness of Caritas International in different countries. (Raymond A. Sebastián)


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