SAMAR LANDSLIDE VICTIMS GET NEW HOUSES
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar -- Gawad Kalinga (GK) and the city government here on Saturday turned over 30 housing units to landslide victims in Mercedes village four years after the tragedy.
Malaysia-based Berjaya Corp. funded the construction of the housing units that started August this year through a system that required recipients to contribute 1,500 hours to haul sand, gravel, and hollow blocks.
City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan, GK Visayas Island head Kevin Caballero and GK Provincial head Joseph Edward Baltazar led the turn-over ceremony of housing units built within a 1.5-hectare lot in Payao village donated by the city government to GK.
“These new homes will give a chance to the families to start a new life. This is the answer to their troubled mind from asking where they will go after their houses were destroyed by the landslide. They now have their permanent address now that they are house owners,” Caballero said.
Beneficiaries of the housing projects are happy that after more than three years of waiting, they now have a better place to stay.
Some of the landslide victims have to stay with their relatives after the incident, while others stayed at the bunkhouse near the GK village built by the city government out of donations of Catbalogan residents who are now based in the United States.
“I am thankful that finally we have a house. This is timely because, we just welcomed our first child,” said Marlon Lab-as, whose house was partly damaged by 2014 landslides.
“My family’s safety is my primary concern although our new house is a bit far from the city’s commercial district,” Lab-as said.
Aside from housing units and teaching values formation, GK personnel will also provide livelihood training for the recipients to augment their daily income.
In her message, Uy-Tan shared that her administration does not have regrets acquiring the lot in Payao village despite the controversy she is facing now.
“If I need to fight for these, I will do it. If they want to malign me, I will face them, and I will not be bothered if this will mean for the betterment of the future of Catbalogan and that this will benefit more residents of the city, I will stand for it,” Uy-Tan said.
The mayor was referring to the Nov. 26, 2018 Office of the Ombudsman’s order for six-month preventive suspension of Uy-Tan along with some city council officials and other city employees since they were charged with abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and gross neglect for the purchase of land from private individuals.
A medium-rise housing project funded by the National Housing Authority meant for 300 families is also planned to be put in the same property. (PNA)