Fifteen typhoon-resilient houses in the town Pilar, Camotes Island were formally turned over to typhoon-Yolanda survivors last December 7.
Governor Hilario P. Davide and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale led the symbolic turnover of the houses located in Barangay Esperanza.
These houses were built under the Balik Balay Project of the Balik Cebu Committee of the Cebu City Tourism Council chaired by Tetta Baad.
Davide thanked Balik Cebu Foundation for the houses. He also accepted the challenge to build 15 more houses in the site with the turnover of the project to the province. The provincial government will also provide the area with basic utilities.
“Katong naigo sa Yolanda makabalik ug makapuyo na jud kamo og mas gwapo ug mas arang arang nga balay (Those who were affected by the typhoons you can now live in better houses,” he said.
Magpale was also grateful for the commitment of Balik Cebu Foundation. She stated that most post typhoon assistance went to Bantayan Island and Pilar was left out for its remote location.
She also thanked the foundation for its commitment to channel its future donations to sustain the project.
Pilar Mayor Jesus Fernandez said the province downloaded P500,000 to purchase the relocation site, which is about 900 square meters.
The area is 100 meters away from the main road.
Young Pioneer Disaster Response (YPDR) implemented the project. Hannah Sevilla of YPDR said they have trained 30 locals to build the houses. Each house is estimated to cost around P40,000 each.
Half of the house is elevated with concrete foundation. The lower part of the other half of the house is made up of hollow blocks while the walls are made up of amakan (woven bamboo panel).
The amakan were soaked into the sea first to avoid termites. The cogon roofs were covered with nets so that it will not be easily blown away by strong wind.
Baad said the houses can live up to 10 to 15 years with minor repairs.
At least four recipients have started occupying the new houses. However, there is no electricity and restrooms yet.
Mary Nodalo, 25, who started occupying her house last October, was thankful. She said her old house is prone to heavy waves and very hot inside.
“Dili man gud taas ang atop unya sin man gud (The roof is too close to our heads and it is galvanized iron),” she said.
Nodalo added that her mother and sister refuse to transfer to the new house yet because it lacks restrooms. But if there’s bad weather, they now have another house to stay, she added.
The activity was highlighted with the presence of the 2015 Miss Cebu. Baad said they wanted to promote Pilar as another tourist attraction.
Davide and Magpale also led a ribbon cutting ceremony for the road concreting project in Pilar worth P15 million and the distribution of cash incentives to its barangay workers.
According to Fernandez, 15 kilometers of their 26-kilometer circumferential road is now concreted.