US Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) Mission Director Gloria Steele visited Compostela Valley in June to reiterate the US government’s commitment to help rebuild the lives of Typhoon Pablo victims.
Together with national and local government officials led by Gov. Arturo Uy of Compostela Valley, Director Steele turned over educational materials worth more than P1.2 million to students and teachers of Cabinuangan Central Elementary School, provided seeds and fertilizer that will directly benefit 120 local farmers, and led the ground-breaking of a P2.5 million trading facility.
The initiatives are part of the US government’s ongoing P201 million disaster recovery assistance for Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, with the two provinces suffering the heaviest casualties and damages from Typhoon Pablo. Director Steele also announced an additional US government assistance of P287 million to support disaster preparedness initiatives in the Philippines.
“The US government continues to work with the Philippine Government to help these provinces recover from the impact of the disaster and enable them to rebuild their lives. We will partner with local governments, schools and communities to develop disaster preparedness contingency plans, which will help them better prepare for disasters,” Director Steele said.
Cabinuangan Central Elementary School (CES), with a student population of over 1500 students, is among the 30 elementary and high schools that will receive Usaid educational assistance packages consisting of student and teacher kits, blackboards, school furniture and assorted reference materials.
The Compostela Trading Center, in Barangay Poblacion, will benefit 23,000 residents, providing farmers and traders with a convenient and weather-resilient venue to consolidate and sell their produce, and consequently, spur economic activity in the area.
The provision of farm production inputs supports the Usaid goal of helping typhoon-affected communities, whose farmlands were heavily damaged by the typhoon, to access alternative farming and livelihood technologies.
US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said in a statement, “We mourn the loss of life and property, but we also celebrate the determination of the people of Compostela Valley and other affected areas to bounce back, rebuild and persevere.”
When Typhoon Pablo struck in December last year, it caused extensive damage to property, infrastructure and agriculture particularly in the municipalities of Compostela, Monkayo, Laak, Montevista and New Bataan in Compostela Valley, and in Baganga, Boston and Cateel in Davao Oriental.
The US government, through Usaid, provided P508.4 million in emergency humanitarian assistance. This included emergency shelter; logistics support; water, sanitation, and hygiene activities; and the provision of emergency relief commodities and rice.
Following the initial response, Usaid conducted a rapid assessment to determine the extent of damage and identify areas for intervention. As a result, Usaid is providing educational resources for students and teachers, agriculture and livelihood skills training for communities, and building climate-resilient infrastructure designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.