CEBU: SM GROUP BUILDING HOMES FOR TYPHOON VICTIMS

The SM Group, through SM Cares, yesterday broke ground for its housing project in Barangay Pulambato here. The project aims to lessen the burden of residents in the area badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8. Two hundred houses will be built starting next month. The project is set to be completed in nine months. Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings, told the media that since most of the public’s attention was centered on Tacloban City, he asked their team to conduct surveys in other areas devastated by Yolanda. “We chose Bogo City as beneficiary,” he said, adding that the heirs of Wenceslao and Margarita Briones Fernan, represented by Eloisa Fernan, donated one hectare of their 63-hectare lot to their project.

ALSO:  ‘Yolanda’ survivors match donor dollars with resilience

Survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” are matching with initiative and diligence every donor dollar given to them.
Helping the Philippines pays back big time as survivors themselves drive the response and early recovery efforts on the ground, putting their lives back together little by little every day, said Luiza Carvalho, the UN resident humanitarian coordinator in the country. The United Nations is currently looking at maintaining food aid distribution to families affected by Yolanda until March, as the focus now shifts to establishing more lasting interventions to restore food security. This includes providing seeds and equipment to farmers, reopening markets and ensuring the stability of prices of basic goods in affected areas.

ALSO: 31% of UN-requested Yolanda fund filled

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said on Sunday 31 percent of the $791-million funding for the Typhoon Yolanda victims has been filled, based on the UN’s Strategic Response Plan (SRP). Under RAY, P361 billion or $8.2 billion is needed for the four-year recovery and reconstruction efforts in the Yolanda-devastated areas. Close to 1,900 teachers were provided psycho-social support and counseling and briefed on how to handle children with emotional and psychological stress. Housing is 19 percent accomplished and there is a need for quality housing materials, especially for roofing. The draft of standards for bunkhouses and the problem of informal settlers living in designated no-build zones needs to be addressed. Close to 1,900 teachers were provided psycho-social support and counseling and briefed on how to handle children with emotional and psychological stress.....Read more below...


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SM building homes for Cebu victims


Shown at the groundbreaking ceremony are (from left) Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, Bogo City Vice Mayor Santiago Sevilla, Mayor Celestino Martinez, Barangay Pulambato chair Narciso Melendrez, SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy, Msgr. Vicente Tupas, co-lot owner Eloisa Fernan, and SM Prime Holdings vice president Marissa Fernan. REYNAN VILLENA/FREEMAN BOGO CITY.

CEBU,, DECEMBER 23, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Mylen Manto/Freeman- – The SM Group, through SM Cares, yesterday broke ground for its housing project in Barangay Pulambato here. The project aims to lessen the burden of residents in the area badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8.

Two hundred houses will be built starting next month. The project is set to be completed in nine months.

Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings, told the media that since most of the public’s attention was centered on Tacloban City, he asked their team to conduct surveys in other areas devastated by Yolanda.

“We chose Bogo City as beneficiary,” he said, adding that the heirs of Wenceslao and Margarita Briones Fernan, represented by Eloisa Fernan, donated one hectare of their 63-hectare lot to their project.

Aside from Bogo City, Sy said they will also have a housing project in Palo in Leyte, Samar and Panay Island which were also ravaged by the super typhoon.

“This is for free,” he said, adding that the company aims to build houses that can sustain typhoons.

The cost of the construction of the SM Cares Village in Bogo City amounts to P50 million, with each unit costing P250,000.

Sy said each house will be built with concrete roofing, high ceiling, proper ventilation and utility-ready provision.

There will also be a community center and a basketball court in the village, he said.

Sy said the project is part of the SM Group’s over P100-million assistance to various communities in the Visayas affected by Yolanda.

The amount includes P20 million for immediate relief operation, P20 million for health matters, P20 million for churches, P20 million for education and P50 million for shelter.

Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. expressed his gratitude for the project.

He said since Bogo City was too big to be adopted, he offered the Adopt-a-Barangay Project and Pulambato was chosen.

“We are in the process of selecting the beneficiaries. They will be those who are homeless and have no means to rebuild their houses,” he said.

For her part, Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale thanked the SM Group for adopting Pulambato.

She said the residents of Bogo are fortunate to get free land and houses.

Meanwhile, the SM Group also announced that they are inviting partners to join them in the housing project to be able to reach their 1,000 target houses.

Interested donors may visit the SM City Cebu mall administration office located at the second level of the Northwing.

SM Cares guarantees that its goal is not just to serve as the retail industry leader, but also to act as a catalyst toward positive change in the nation and lead by example when it comes to corporate social responsibility.

FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Yolanda’ survivors match donor dollars with resilience By Tarra Quismundo Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:16 am | Sunday, December 22nd, 2013


http://globalnation.inquirer.net/files/2013/11/US-help-e1387646146392.jpg
Lt. Cmdr. Mike DeVito, left, Commander, Task Force 70, helicopter operations officer, embarked aboard the US Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington, helps a member of the Filipino Air Force carry a box of relief supplies in support of relief efforts in the aftermath of the Supertyphoon Yolanda, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Guinan. Foreign aid for Supertyphoon “Yolanda” survivors in Samar and Leyte as well as similarly devastated provinces now totals P10.6 billion, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported on Sunday. AP Photo/US Navy, PO 3rd Class Paolo Bayas

Survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” are matching with initiative and diligence every donor dollar given to them.

Helping the Philippines pays back big time as survivors themselves drive the response and early recovery efforts on the ground, putting their lives back together little by little every day, said Luiza Carvalho, the UN resident humanitarian coordinator in the country.

Carvalho said such level of engagement on the ground should inspire the world to continue supporting typhoon-ravaged villages as the Philippines, the United Nations and other partners ease the transition from emergency relief to the long-term recovery and rehabilitation phase.

Indeed, throughout the effort, one invaluable resource has emerged: the typhoon-hit residents themselves who are battling great odds to survive instead of remaining tragic victims.

“In the Philippines, it’s a worthwhile investment because of this resilience aspect and the role they (survivors) play. It’s a resource that really pays,” Carvalho told the Inquirer in an interview.

“It really pushes the response very fast and further. Every dollar you invest in the Philippines, it pays back because of the capacity of the community to expand the foreign aid. They do have a very fast and strong engagement in the response,” said Carvalho, who has traveled to the disaster areas at least five times since the emergency.

She called on the international community anew to continue its support as the government prepared for the four-year Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), a “build back better” plan for new shelters, major infrastructure, education, health and agriculture facilities and systems, among many others, in the affected areas.

“Do not stop in the next two, three months, we have to keep the momentum,” Carvalho said, addressing donors.
“We and the government will be giving accounts of the progress in a very detailed and timely manner periodically so the help will flow and push into the second phase, and we can rebuild the whole communities,” she said, assuring accountability for donations.

$791-M plan

The United Nations supports the RAY program through its Strategic Response Plan, a $791-million appeal to provide immediate needs and begin early recovery efforts for some 14 million people affected by the storm.

Carvalho said donations from foreign governments, organizations and private citizens had filled more than 30 percent of this amount.

She said the amount had accomplished more than expected as typhoon survivors—those who have loved ones, livelihood and homes—just did not wait idly by.

“It’s amazing what we have been able to do with only 30 percent funded,” Carvalho said, who started her tour in the Philippines just a month before Typhoon “Pablo” hit Mindanao in December last year.

“When they (government and the UN Development Programme) cleared the roads, the next day, the roads were full again with secondary debris that people were taking out of their houses. So they were not just waiting and sitting on the road. They started getting the debris themselves and cleaned them out,” said Carvalho, smiling as she recalled the story of Pablo.

She said roads had to be cleared again of the secondary debris several times as residents cleaned out their homes and salvaged what remained.

“So what this does, this leads to prevention of health issues, the security of the family increases, [they have] less exposure to the element … better storage of food, so it’s one thing connected to the other,” Carvalho said.

Food aid until March

“People just don’t wait for help. They really start to organize their life and do their best,” she said in the interview in her Makati office.

The United Nations is currently looking at maintaining food aid distribution to families affected by Yolanda until March, as the focus now shifts to establishing more lasting interventions to restore food security. This includes providing seeds and equipment to farmers, reopening markets and ensuring the stability of prices of basic goods in affected areas.

“It’s a matter of moving from food distribution to food security, meaning they should have earnings, markets should be in place, prices should be controlled and protection should be activated,” Carvalho said.

She said seeds were provided to rice farmers in 171 municipalities along the “Yolanda corridor,” and they are expected to harvest some 33,000 metric tons of rice by April of next year. This supply is enough to feed 600,000 people over a year, the official said.

Cash-for-work programs are also in place to provide livelihood to survivors and encourage economic activity anew.

She said the United Nations and the government were looking at focusing food provision to vulnerable populations—undernourished children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers—after March, when better a food security structure will have been established.

Carvalho commended how well the government had been implementing the “cluster approach” to disaster response, a system introduced in 2005 targeting specific sectoral needs, such as shelter, health and education.

She said each Cabinet secretary had coordinated well with the UN agencies involved.

“They are the the ones who do the magic. They really deliver,” she said.

FROM MANILA TIMES

31% of UN-requested Yolanda fund filled December 22, 2013 10:54 pm by KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO REPORTER

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said on Sunday 31 percent of the $791-million funding for the Typhoon Yolanda victims has been filled, based on the UN’s Strategic Response Plan (SRP).

At a press conference hours before leaving the Philippines, Ban said the $791 million “requested fund” is incorporated in the SRP and is “closely aligned” with the government’s Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) plan drafted by the National Economic and Development Authority.

Under RAY, P361 billion or $8.2 billion is needed for the four-year recovery and reconstruction efforts in the Yolanda-devastated areas.

Based on the December 29 report of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), contributions from multilaterals, bilateral countries, UN emergency fund sources, and other donor-organizations reached $529.6 million.

Ban said basic community services such as health, water and sanitation provision are being provided, and teams on the ground are looking after vulnerable people like girls, women, children and the disabled persons.

Anticipating the tapering of foreign aid by February, Ban said he met with key country representatives and ambassadors on Saturday and pressed them for more donations, since the region still needs assistance when it comes to food, health and water services.

Ocha reported that “381 evacuation centers remain open, providing temporary shelter to 101,527 people, with the other 3.8 million displaced people are believed to be staying with friends and other family.”

Ban said 5.9 million workers lost their livelihoods, but since last month, some 14,000 people have been hired to clear debris on roads, in schools, hospitals and other public structures.

Some 16,800 classrooms need repair or replacement, while more textbooks and learning materials are needed because classes have resumed in the region, Ocha reported.

Close to 1,900 teachers were provided psycho-social support and counseling and briefed on how to handle children with emotional and psychological stress.

Ocha said about 207,495 or 70 percent of the targeted 300,000 households by UN cluster partners were provided emergency shelters. A total of 1.1 million houses were damaged by Yolanda, with 546,246 completely destroyed.

Housing is 19 percent accomplished and there is a need for quality housing materials, especially for roofing. The draft of standards for bunkhouses and the problem of informal settlers living in designated no-build zones needs to be addressed.

In terms of food and agriculture, Ban said they are targeting to plant a total of 72,000 hectares land in the Visayas so that the crop yields for next year would “not be lost.”

“Rice seeds have been distributed to more than 10,000 farming households so far. Our aim is to ensure that at least 72,000 hectares can be planted, so the vital upcoming 2014 harvest is not lost,” Ban said.

The UN also delivered 11,100 tons of rice, 260 tons of high-energy biscuits and 18 tons of specialized nutrition products as of Wednesday to nearly 3 million people.

Reproductive health kits were distributed to 30,000 people, and family planning services and clinical management services were given to 10,000 people who suffered from sexual violence.

Over 40,000 children under five years of age were screened for malnutrition, while 83 unaccompanied and separated children from their families have been identified and documented.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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