Due to the aftermath of Super typhoon Rai or locally known as Bagyong Odette, it devastated the Philippines. Reviewing the situational reports, the Southern part of Negros Occidental was one of those who suffered from the aftermath last December 2021.
A different Christmas for families who lost their homes and loved ones. But beyond blessed, ADRA received funding from the Japan Platform and Japan Private Fund to implement the shelter assistance project for 208 families. The municipality of Sipalay City and Ilog, Negros Occidental expressed exceeding gratitude to be chosen as recipients of this project. This is a 5-month project implemented by ADRA consisting of 6 members to help affected families to gradually rebuild their lives. But, constructing 200 houses is difficult. Even so, by putting the people at the center of this project, greatly contributed to the achievement of the project. Using the Build Back Better— an approach to post disaster recovery that reduces vulnerability to future disasters. And with home reconstruction, it will give opportunities for affected families to bounce back as the Build Back Better approach is integrated into their home design and in their homes respectively. Wherein the Filipino value of “Bayanihan” was fully maximized. With the full support of the local government units, the Ground Support Group that comprises unwavering volunteers, and the genuine participation of the communities, were blessed to say that the project succeeded.
As Kazuhiro Koide, Emergency Response Coordinator of ADRA Japan says, “I cannot express my feelings in words.” Because amidst challenges, such as securing land and distribution of materials to the beneficiaries and unexpected natural delays, the rehabilitation and reconstruction of shelters are now home to these families!
And we are glad to share that the Turn-Over Ceremony of 208 houses was held this week! On July 19, 2022, the On-Site Ceremonial Hand-Over of Shelter Houses for the beneficiaries in Ilog, Negros Occidental was attended by 108 beneficiaries, carpenters, their respective Brgy. Council and Department Heads of Ilog LGU. The event featured the presence of Mr. Tomohiro Matsubara, 2nd Secretary Economic Section – Embassy of Japan, Mr. Yazuki Aoki, Country Director-ADRA Japan, Kazuhiro Koide, Emergency Response Coordinator-ADRA Japan, Mr. Jerry Requillo, Program Manager-ADRA Philippines, in behalf of Tom Pignon, Country Director-ADRA Philippines, Ptr. Brendo Caroz, Exec. Secretary – Negros Occidental Conference and Ptr. James Rubrico, SS/PM/ADRA/ACS-Central Philippine Union Conference. The Provincial government through the Provincial Disaster Management Office head, Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, witnessed the occasion.
Mr. John Paulo Alvarez, representative of Hon. John Alvarez, Mayor-Municipality of Ilog received the emblems of turn-over consisting of a printed hand-out of Shelter Plan and Project Documents. Then on July 20, 2022, the On-Site Ceremonial Hand-Over of Shelter Houses for the 100 beneficiaries in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental was held at Sitio Tabunan, Brgy. Cayhagan.
The program was graced by the 2nd Secretary of the Economic Section of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Tomohiro Matsubara, ADRA Japan Country Director Yasuki Aoki, Program Director of ADRA Japan Kazuhiro Koide, ADRA Philippines Country Director Tom Pignon, and ADRA Philippines Program Director Jerry Requillo.
The Provincial Disaster Management Program Division Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian also joined the event. The support of the Municipality of Sipalay was present also during the ceremony with the City Administrator Philip Zamora together with Executive Assistant to the City Mayor Engr. Praem Mediodia, Human Resource Management Division Head , City Tourism Officer Jerick Lacson, Acting Community Affairs Officer Gretchel Gela, Representatives from City Social Welfare and Development Office, and the Councils of Barangays Cartagena, Cayhagan, and Maricalum. The hand over ceremony ended with lively music and visitation to the families’ houses.
A pilot program, “Lessons Learned” was held the next day, July 21, 2022 that was attended by the stakeholders. These are representatives from the local government units, barangay councils, beneficiaries, carpenters, volunteers and staff who reflected on their journey in the 5-month project. Recently this past Wednesday, July 27, 2022, the province of Abra was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, causing landslides and collapsing structures. Many families are now seeking shelter and help. However, ADRA has a team already up in the north conducting assessments. So let us pray for the victims of the earthquake.
Closing this episode with a quote written by Ellen G. White, “As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital importance that harmony and unity exist among the Lord’s instrumentalities.” There is indeed, strength in unity.