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Finally, houses for ‘Yolanda’ survivors in Iloilo town

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SURVIVORS of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Sara town in Iloilo province move in to their new houses in a resettlement site.    NESTOR P. BURGOS JR. / INQUIRER VISAYAS

SURVIVORS of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Sara town in Iloilo province move in to their new houses in a resettlement site. NESTOR P. BURGOS JR. / INQUIRER VISAYAS

SARA, Iloilo—Liza Lasibal was brimming with excitement as she prepared to move in to her new concrete house.

“I am overjoyed. I thank God because we can now sleep peacefully,” said Lasibal, whose dwelling was among 3,000 destroyed by strong winds brought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) more than two and a half years ago.

Fifty four housing units donated by Monsanto Philippines in partnership with Gawad Kalinga (GK) Community Development Foundation Inc. were turned over to the typhoon survivors in a resettlement site in Barangay Aldeguer here on June 29.

“We will try our best to prove to the donors that we can take care of what they have given us,” Lasibal, a barangay volunteer health worker, said on the sidelines of the ceremony. Her husband, Roger, works as a security guard in Manila, and they have six children, aged 10 to 23 years old.

Yolanda’s winds blew off the roof of her house and uprooted an avocado tree that trampled its walls on Nov. 8, 2013. Her family stayed at the house of a neighbor until they were able to put up a makeshift dwelling from the debris.

The new housing units were put up on a two-hectare property donated by Ilonggo philanthropist Ruth Jarantilla-Tirol in Sara, 96 kilometers northeast of Iloilo City. Municipal officials led by Vice Mayor Jesus Salcedo, Monsanto country lead Rachel Lomibao and GK executive director Jose Luis Oquiñena, attended the ceremony.

Monsanto funded the construction of the row houses amounting to P16.8 million. Its employees contributed pocket money, according to Charina Garrido-Ocampo, head of Monsanto corporate affairs office.

GK selected the beneficiaries who underwent value-formation training.

Each unit has two floors and can accommodate a family with five members. Thirty families moved in months earlier while the remaining 24 were expected to transfer soon.

“From now on, you are now longer squatters. You have your own house where you can build your future for the sake of your children,” Oquiñena said in a speech.

For Josie Grapa, 51, one of the beneficiaries, the house is a dream come true for storm survivors like her.

“I’m so happy and we are forever thankful to those who have helped us,” she said.

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