More than 400 typhoon Seniang survivors from Alcantara, Ronda and Dumanjug towns in Cebu received cash assistance from the Cebu Provincial Government last June 11.
Governor Hilario P. Davide III, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and Provincial Board Member Peter John Calderon of District 2 led the distribution with town officials.
The Php 3 million worth of cash assistance were handed out to residents whose homes suffered partial and total damage from the December 30 typhoon.
Beneficiaries with partially damaged homes received Php 5,000 each while those with totally damaged homes received Php 10,000 each.
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer-in-Charge Rose Jao explained partially-damaged houses are those that suffered 30 to 50 percent damage but still livable.
Totally-damaged houses are unlivable houses that suffered 100 percent damage, she added.
Municipal social welfare and disaster officers submitted official assessment to the Province, which was used as basis for the official list of beneficiaries.
Jao added that the Province opted to give out cold cash instead of cheques so as to ensure beneficiaries would receive the exact amount and not deducted amounts from money changers.
‘Delayed but here’
Davide hoped the assistance would be able to help the survivors repair or rebuild their houses or pay their debts from acquiring housing materials.
He emphasized that the Provincial Government stands by its belief that “public funds must be returned to the public through the basic services.”
Magpale thanked the beneficiaries for patiently waiting for the Province’s assistance.
“Much, much delayed but niabot gyud. Pirti ang paninguha sa Probinsya nga mapagawas gyud ning kwartaha (The Province did its best to be able to release this money. Much, much delayed but it’s already here),” she said.
Jao explained that the delay in releasing of the funds was caused by the delayed submission of final list of beneficiaries from the towns as well as the tedious process of releasing funds in the government.
Nevertheless, town chiefs thanked the Provincial Capitol for keeping its promise of giving assistance to their affected constituents.
“Dako kaayong akong pasalamat nga wa gyud ta kalimti sa Probinsiya (Thank you very much for not forgetting us),” expressed Alcantara Mayor Beatriz Caburnay.
To repair house and lives
Seniang’s huge floods hit Demetrio Sabala’s house in Barangay Poblacion in Alcantara town and tipped to its side on the dawn of December 30 last year.
Six months later, it still remained to its side supported by a pole to prevent it from completely falling down.
Though floods frequent their place due to a nearby river, 81-year old Demetrio admitted experiencing such heavy floods for the first time.
He shared he will use the assistance he received to repair his house and strengthen its foundation to withstand future floods.
Myrna Tancinco, 63, from Barangay Poblacion in Ronda town recalled the waist-deep flood that filled their house.
Seeing the heavy flood, she immediately evacuated to the health center with her husband, children and grandchildren.
It took them more than a month to start the house repairs with donated materials and cash assistance from the local government of Ronda and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Cebu Province’s cash assistance will be spent in completing their house’s walls, she said.
Beverly dela Cerna, 35, from Barangay Kang-aktol, Dumanjug town will also use the cash assistance she received to complete the house they are currently rebuilding.
Their old house, made of light materials, did not survive Seniang’s flashfloods.
Typhoon horrors still fresh
Rosemarie Lim, 44, and a resident of Barangay Poblacion in Ronda town lost his eldest son when Seniang struck Cebu South.
She recalled Paul Emerson Lim, 18, was with her on board a truck traversing a curve near the bridge when they came across his uncle pinned down by a tree asking for help.
Paul, she said, was about to rescue him when the heavy flood washed him out around 2:30 in dawn. Paul’s body was found stuck under the bridge that morning.
Tearful Rosemarie expressed her sorrow for the early demise of her son, a BS Marine Transportation student of the University of Cebu – Mambaling Campus.
“He was a good child, an excellent student and athlete. He even donated his prize from winning a town-organized marathon to the church,” she shared.
Another Rondahanon, 17-year old Marie Joy Gabutan lost her mother, stepfather, four step-siblings and 28-day old niece because of Seniang.
At that time, she was in Opon, Lapu-lapu City for studies with her elder brother.
The heavy floods washed out the entire house where her mother’s new family and her brother’s family were living together. In that household, only her brother’s wife survived.
Rosemarie received P5, 000 while Marie Joy received P10, 000.
El Niño assistance
Davide, Magpale and Calderon also led the distribution of assistance to El Niño-affected farmers of Alcantara.
Almost 500 farmers from the nine-barangay town received 200 packs of assorted vegetable seeds and 100 food packs from the Province.