Christmas will be joyful to 84-year old Matias Malabarbas of Barangay Magbok in Tulunan, Cotabato Province.
The elderly earthquake survivor was almost in tears after receiving his temporary shelter on Monday. Malabarbas is among the residents whose houses were totally damaged after series of tremors hit Tulunan in October this year. He is living with his three grandchildren and a daughter-in-law.
Malabarbas considers it a blessing that he and his children were out for his medical check-up when the quake happened.
“Kung wala ko nihawa sa among balay, patay unta ko,” he said.
According to him he will put divisions for the shelter first before moving in.
“Nagpasalamat ko ninyo ug ang Ginoo unta maga-panalangin kaninyo nga nagtabang kanako,” he said.
Malabarbas was among the beneficiaries of the five temporary shelter units turned over by Vice Governor Emmylou “Lala” Mendoza of North Cotabato in Bgry. Magboc in the municipality of Tulunan.
With a floor area of 20 square meters, the shelters are made of plyboard, concrete flooring, woven bamboo for walling, coco lumber and galvanized iron sheets for roofing.
Office of Civil Defense 12 (OCD 12) director Minda Morante said they will provide blankets and water system for the community.
“Kani nga hinabang para matagaan tong mga biktima sa linog. Kulang pa ni pero gisugdan na ni vice governor ang paghatag ug tabang kung paano ma-restore ang dignidad sa mga affected,” she said.
In an interview, Mendoza said they are targeting to build 100 units of temporary shelters. The first 50 units are already taken cared of including the five units that were turned over. The funding for the remaining 45 units is already available wherein the first 20 units will be sponsored by Inetgrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao, 10 units by donors from Siargao, and 10 units by North Cotabato Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva.
“The group of IBP Davao is just waiting for the bill of materials para mapalit na nila ug masaka na nila diri,” she said.
She also said the 40 units will be built 200 meters away from the newly turned-over units.
Municipal Mayor of Tulunan Reuel Limbungan said the local government unit of Tulunan has acquired properties for the relocation of the residents living in tents: 3.5 hectares in Brgy magboc, 5 has. in Brgy Daig, and 5 has. in Brgy Paraiso.
“Gi-klaro ni vice governor nga sayon ang pag-rehab ug pagbuhat sa balay. So dere-derecho nata sa pagbuhat sa balay sa mga luna nga gi-acquire sa LGU sa Tulunan,” Limbungan said.
Mendoza said they are now awaiting for the certification from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau 12 (MGB 12) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) that these areas were cleared from landslide and flashfloods.
“Importante nga mahiluna na kay dako na responsibilidad sa LGUs. Mao ng importante ang certification. Pag makuha na ni mayor ang certification ilaha na orderon ang materials para madala na sa site. Kung naa nato karon, karong semanaha magsugod na dayon ang construction sa shelters,” Mendoza said.
She also called out the Department of Public Works and Highways 12 (DPWH 12), military, even the churches for them to commit for the labor component.
“Kaya man bisan kamo nga magkumpuni ng isang unit. Hindi ganon ka komplikado ang isang transitional shelter,” she said.
She also emphasized that cash donation is discouraged.
“Because musulod sa account sa province and municipality. Usahay naa man gud procurement process ug kung imong subayon dugay kayo. Mao na ma delay ang implementation, mao na mas maayo kung gusto mutabang palita na lang ang materyales ipalista sa munisipyo ug dalhon ang materials diri ug atong buhaton uban ang mga volunteers,” she said.
Apart from this adopt-a-shelter or transitional shelters initiative, the province is also offering psychosocial interventions to the victims and adopt-a-school for those displaced students.
“Kay dili sayon magdugay ug puyo sa tent. Ang linog baya dili mahibal-an kung kanus-a muundang. Dili pud angayan ang mga katigulangan ug masakiton ug mga bata naa silong sa tent. Magpasko na ug ang ilang trauma wala ta kabalo kanus-a mahuman. To move them from the tent set-up padulong aning naay atop, naay flooring mas comfortable gamay ilang sitwasyon,” she said.
Mendoza said selection of beneficiaries is based on disaster protocols.