Quantcast

Traders stay, take part in rebuilding Tacloban

By

Businessman Jack Uy reopened his family’s grocery store two months after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” hit to help his fellow Taclobanons. —JOEY A. GABIETA

Businessman Jack Uy reopened his family’s grocery store two months after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” hit to help his fellow Taclobanons. —JOEY A. GABIETA

TACLOBAN CITY—It was triple whammy for Rosemarie Obina when Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) hit Leyte province and the rest of the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013.

Obina lost her mother and three siblings during the storm surge generated by the supertyphoon which also damaged her house in Barangay 71 here. As if these were not enough, her stall at the public market was ransacked by looters after the onslaught.

But instead of crying and sulking, Obina chose to stand up and pick up the pieces for the sake of her daughter.

Local businessman Jack Uy also chose to to stay in Tacloban despite losing P10-million worth of goods to looters who ransacked his Astra Mart, one of the oldest grocery stores in the city located on the ground floor of his family’s three-story building on Burgos Extension.

Uy, 71, recalled that just hours after floodwater receded, people started converging at the entrance of the grocery.

“Although the grocery was flooded due to the storm surge, there were still items that could be salvaged,” he said.

Uy said he even distributed food to typhoon victims who later became agitated and demanded that he open the steel gate so they could enter his store.

“They were many and armed with steel bars. I had to protect the members of my family as well as those who sought refuge in the building. So I was forced to open the grocery,” he said.

He said looters took everything in his store, including non-food items like cash registers and refrigerators.

They also emptied his “bodega” (warehouse) located on the second floor of the building.

“Some of them even attempted to enter the third floor, where we lived. But I told them not to harm my family and those who stayed with us during the typhoon because we would defend ourselves,” Uy said.

In the case of Obina, looters forcibly opened her stall on the ground floor of the Tacloban City market and took everything.

It was painful for Obina who was mourning the death of her mother, Benita, brothers Jose and Richard, and sister Estrella who died during Yolanda’s onslaught.

“I was really in a state of shock and was so depressed at that time. Yolanda did not only kill my mother and siblings, but my source of income as well,” she said.

“I have to move on for the sake of my daughter. I have to learn to accept what happened to me,” she said.

Both Uy and Obina chose to fight back by reopening their stores.

Uy, president of the Tacloban Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reopened Astra Mart on Jan. 8, 2014.

“Well, I have little connections and some friends who helped me start again,” Uy said.

“I was mad about what happened to us. Looters, many of them were not actually from Tacloban but from areas not affected by Yolanda, took everything,” he said. “But I have to reopen Astra Mart again thinking that there were no stores open at that time where people could buy what they needed, like rice and other food items.”

He said he and his family could easily leave Tacloban and return once the city’s situation normalizes.

“But I was born and raised here. I love Tacloban and I want to be part of its rebuilding after Yolanda devastated the city,” Uy said.

As head of the business chamber, Uy also encouraged other business owners to reopen their establishments and in the process, help survivors meet their daily needs as well as start reviving the economy.

In the case of Obina, she had no choice but to start again.

She applied for a loan from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which offered financial help to small entrepreneurs dislocated by Yolanda.

Obina managed to reopen her store at the public market on Jan. 7, 2015 after securing a P240,000 loan payable in two years.

She, however, has yet to repair her house.

Uy and Obina said they have to remain positive and let go of any grudge against those who ransacked their stores.

After all, they said, they are already in the process of recovering and healing.

RELATED VIDEO

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Copyright © 2019,

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94



News

  • Japan protests Chinese activity near disputed islands
  • Piñol tasked to lead gov’t team assisting fishermen in Recto bank incident
  • 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission to be honored by The Met
  • Isko’s sleepless task: Keep Lacson Underpass open 24 hours
  • 6 quakes strike Mindanao provinces
  • Sports

  • Filipinos fall in ONE: Legendary Quest
  • Pasig Kings win 1st leg of Patriots’ Cup
  • Luis Suarez, Uruguay crush 10-man Ecuador in Copa America
  • Carli Lloyd’s tiny golf clap delivers big message from US women
  • Raptors’ Nick Nurse to guide Canada at Fiba World Cup
  • Lifestyle

  • Live on the Net: Bella Thorne posts nudes, thwarts hacker’s blackmail plans
  • The travel beauty essentials you need so you don’t overpack
  • #NowPlaying: Joji’s new drop, ‘Sanctuary’
  • This Indonesian university will accept you—if you’re a Youtube star
  • NHCP opens Museo ni Mariano Ponce
  • Entertainment

  • Scorsese on Dylan, Netflix and beating back the blockbuster
  • Danny Glover to testify at House slavery reparations hearing
  • Mira Sorvino says she is a ‘survivor of date rape’
  • LISTEN: Lana Del Rey’s snippet of new song ‘Norman F*cking Rockwell’
  • Julio Iglesias reflects on a life that ‘has been a miracle’
  • Business

  • BOC launches 6 IT systems to cut red tape, eliminate corruption
  • Remittances from expat Filipinos maintain slow but steady growth in April
  • T-bill rates decline further
  • Asian shares mostly higher as investors look ahead to Fed
  • ArthaLand is making its mark as the Philippines’ foremost developer of green office buildings
  • Technology

  • Facebook to unveil new cryptocurrency
  • Mindfulness profits as meditation apps mature
  • Pakistan provincial gov’t live streams presser with ‘cat filter’ on
  • White tiger cubs uncovered on Tunisia-Libya border
  • India plans ‘very small’ space station after 2022
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, June 17, 2019
  • Investment push
  • Protests and inertia
  • Dissipating the smog of gullibility
  • Born creative geniuses
  • Global Nation

  • Gatchalian urges swift probe of Recto Bank incident
  • BREAKING: Palace to summon Chinese envoy over boat sinking
  • Filipino baking program helping wounded, retiring soldiers bags award in Canada
  • ‘Chinese have no business fishing’ in the Philippines’ EEZ, says ex- SolGen
  • Gov’t told to address looming deportation of 100 Israel OFWs
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

    • Cordillera dishes show connection to the earth

      Read More

    • THIS WEEK’S FESTIVALS: May 19-25, 2019

      Read More

    • McDonald’s PH Chairman & Founder, George T. Yang turns over three performing arts studios for DLSU Manila

      Read More

    • Cops arrest 6 ‘Basag Kotse’ suspects

      Read More

    • Honest naia cabbie cited for exemplary deed

      Read More

    • Mom of 5-year-old girl with leukemia looking for more good samaritans

      Read More

    • Compensation commission releases P2.3-M to aid Marawi soldiers

      Read More

    • PNP can’t always fool public with ‘nanlaban’ claims – solons

      Read More

    • Poll: Most dislike NFL protests and Trump comments

      Read More

    • Former Mexico governor wanted in US arrested

      Read More

    • US: Nobel Peace choice doesn’t change US stance

      Read More

    • California becomes first ‘sanctuary state’ for undocumented migrants

      Read More

    • Mexican photojournalist found dead after kidnapping

      Read More

    • Moscow gets 130 fake bomb calls, evacuates 100,000 people

      Read More

    • Frustrated police appeal for public’s help in Vegas case

      Read More