LOON, BOHOL: Instead of providing temporary assistance to victims of the quake, the government will give them alternative livelihoods, a local official said.
In an interview with The Times, Loon Mayor Lloyd Peter Lopez said that the affected communities would need an alternative livelihood while the rehabilitation of the damaged areas continues.
For instance, he cited more than 2,000 fishermen were affected by the quake and most of them doesn’t want to go back to fishing.
“We can provide alternative livelihood like those fishermen who had been displaced from their trabaho or livelihood fishing na karamihan sa kanila as of now kung tatanungin mo sila ayaw ng bumalik sa takot na magka-tsunami,” Lopez said.
For this reason, the municipality of Loon, he said, is planning to organize seminars and training for those fishermen and other people affected by the recent quake.
“The intention is to conduct series of carpentry training sessions or seminars to be organized by the local government units and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” Lopez added
Some of them, he said, could help in the reconstruction of houses and public buildings in the municipality.
“So pwede silang i-tap if they still don’t want to go back to fishing, dito tayo mag carpentry tayo,” Lopez said
“This will be kung tatawagin sila mga kontraktors, so may alternative livelihood tayo at hindi na kailangan bibigyan pa sila,” he added
Loon residents, mostly from the coastal barangays, now live in makeshift tents in open spaces surrounding the municipal hall, church, schools and hospitals.
For those affected people who are carpenters or laborers, Lopez said that some of them will go back to their work.
“So for now, with the help of private sectors and government agencies, we’re giving out relief goods or food packs. And so far, based on our tally or record over 25,000 packs had been distributed to all families in the municipalities,” he added.
The local government will also provide financial assistance to all casualties or those who died from the earthquake, according to Lopez.
For Loon, he noted that 1,400 houses were destroyed, but extent of damage is still being assessed.
Meanwhile, Lopez said that the government will be providing technical assistance through the help of some structural engineers.
“We can organize a group of structural engineers who will be asked or assisted to go to barangays especially those who have concrete houses and assess the real situation before to take for occupation again or not,” he said.
“We’re asking for help from the DPWH and other agencies or NGOs who intend to help us in providing assistance. And we in the local government also would provide counterpart funds for any expenses that will be incurred during the conduct of the evaluation,” he added
The Loon mayor also assured that they have enough funds for the residents who really cannot afford to buy new houses.
“We still have enough, i think sufficient calamity fund. They will be given temporary shelter,” Lopez assured.
The President earlier said P20 billion from government savings would be used to fund rehabilitation and relief efforts in Bohol.
On the issue about distribution of relief assistance, the municipality of Loon, he said, welcomed all relief organizations who would like to help.
“I cannot control other group or agency who would want or would like to distribute their goods to the province. Welcome sila dito. Lahat naman welcome even we, provide transport assistance.” he added
Death toll for Loon alone rose to 60. According of the Office of Civil Defense, families of the 55 victims already accessed death financial assistance.
For the town’s utilities, 65 percent of water supply and 80 percent of power were restored. CATHERINE S. VALENTE