ORMOC CITY, Leyte: One month after Super Typhoon Yolanda hit this city, the local government is set to undertake recovery and rehabilitation programs with the support of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“I propose for the complete clean up of the city. I want people in the squatters area to be transferred to proper resettlement sites as part of our strategic rehabilitation plan,” Mayor Edward Codilla stressed.
The local chief executive thanked President Benigno Aquino 3rd, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and the many people from government and private sector who “helped [them]during those critical times.”
“I also thank the local and international donors for augmenting our relief efforts and services,” he added.
On the reconstruction of infrastructure projects, Codilla suggested that all structures must be designed to withstand storms and strong winds.
“I propose that buildings’ wind-load capacity be increased to up to 500 kilometers per hour to protect people and their livelihood knowing Ormoc as prone to disasters,” the mayor said.
City Social Welfare and Development officer, Marrietta Legaspi said that Soliman has expressed support to the city’s rehabilitation plan.
“She has introduced us to focal persons in the central office who can assist us with our proposed permanent shelter project which is our first step towards rehabilitation,” Legaspi said.
“We are glad that people who will benefit from the permanent shelter project are not only the landless and people in the squatters area. We are also grateful that DSWD allows inclusion of residents who lost their houses and livelihood,” she added.
“We are now fast-tracking our records for the identification of those who are eligible to receive shelter assistance.”
Journey to recovery
In an interview with Gudi Ibcas, city councilor and chair of Operations of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), he said that during the first two weeks, delivery of relief goods in the city was difficult owing to impassable roads and highways.
“With the support of the Department of Labor and Employment [DOLE], we hired 30 laborers from each barangay to clean and clear the city,” he said.
Ibcas said that the laborers were provided with a P260 a day cash allowance for 15 days.
He also mentioned that a German non-government organization also provided Cash-for-Work (CFW). The group hired 100 people with a daily salary of P200 to help clean up the city.
The United Nations Development Program also initiated another CFW. It hired 300 individuals at P260 a day.
For her part, Legazpi said, “The DSWD is one of our trusted partners.”
She cited that DSWD declared the city’s Superdome as a relief hub for Western Leyte.
“Nearby municipalities received relief services through fast and efficient management of the warehouse,” she added.
“We had smooth coordination with DSWD because we made the Department part of our CDRRMO regular meetings.”
She noted that DSWD-Field Offices 7, 11, 12 and Caraga helped them in their relief operations.
Imelda Dadulla, Social Welfare Officer IV, recalled how the bayanihan spirit was demonstrated in the city.
“I remember the Philippine Air Force helping us reach Barangay Liberty, Barangay Hugpa and other remote sites,” she said.
“All throughout the relief operations, we managed to keep our District Social Welfare Office working 24/7. We had a system of submitting the list of disaster-affected families. [We were able to monitor] our 30 evacuation centers—mostly schools and barangay halls. And we were able to have an accounting of our incoming donations and outgoing releases,” Dadulla said.
In this city alone, Yolanda rendered 64,000 families homeless.