About 63 Odette-affected families in Puerto Princesa will benefit from the housing project initiated by the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa (AVPP) in Barangay Langogan after losing their homes in December 2021.
Fr. Eugene Elivera, spokesperson for the AVPP, said that the budget totals P14 million, which has been accumulated from various donors. Each house is estimated to cost approximately P220,000 and the project is expected to be completed by August.
The AVPP is the main implementer of the project that will be undertaken with the CBCP-Caritas Philippines and the Diocese of Kalookan. It also has support from the city government of Puerto Princesa and the barangay council of Langogan.
“Talagang ‘yong legitimate na nasalanta at taga-doon sa sitio na ‘yon sa Macandreng — parang application, kung sino ‘yong aaprubahan. Meron din iba na hindi Katoliko kasi charity naman is for everybody. Wala kang tatanggihan pero meron tayong karapat-dapat na tulungan,” he said.
“Pwede ito maging umpisa, pwedeng tularan. Ito ay isang concrete expression na ang simbahan ay talagang tumutulong hindi lang spiritual kung hindi sa panlipunan, social concerns ng ating sambayanan,” he added.
Fr. Elivera said the beneficiaries will transfer to their new homes that will already be with water and power connections. The majority are residents of Purok Mangingisda who must evacuate because their community has been labeled a danger zone.
The AVPP, he added, will release the houses to the beneficiaries under contracts that are renewable every five years.
The construction will be expedited so that recipients who are still residing at an evacuation center can transfer soon.
“Long-term plan namin ay magkaroon ng chapel, magkaroon ng parokya, talagang village. Baka nga i-form sila into a community, multipurpose– sana matularan, Christian community dito sa Philippines,” he said.
“Hindi lang ito one-shot deal na tapos na. Kung hindi meron din na pakikipaglakbay para tuluyang makabangon. At the same time, hindi lang sila makabangon, kung hindi ay sila rin makatulong sa iba na makabangon din at maramdaman na hindi lang sila passive recepient– sila rin ay magpalaganap ng kabutihan na ‘yon,” he added.
Previously, the AVPP provided shelter repair kits to affected communities following Odette’s destruction. Bishop Socrates Mesiona declared on May 19 during a groundbreaking ceremony that there is always something to look forward to despite the difficulties caused by disasters.
“Alam natin napakahirap mawalan ng bahay, ng hanap-buhay dahil sa bagyo. Pero hindi tayo pababayaan ng Diyos. May mga taong ginagamit nyang instrumento para tayo ay makabangon,” Mesiona said.
The Catholic Church also assisted local fishermen by providing them with boat equipment, which would improve their fishing livelihoods.