Concrete from floor to ceiling, two hundred brand new houses were turned over recently in Ormoc to complete the targeted 1,000 units for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in various parts of the Visayas region. The houses were donated to the beneficiaries and are part of a project that was initiated immediately after the historic storm that devastated thousands of lives and property in November 8, 2013.
The housing project – initiated under SM Cares, and a division of SM Foundation – covered areas that were hardest hit by Yolanda. It started with the turnover of 200 houses in Bogo, Cebu a year after the typhoon in November 2014. In October 2015, 200 more houses were given to survivors in Iloilo. Early this May 2016, 400 houses in Barangay Kawayan, Tacloban were given to chosen beneficiaries.
The houses were designed and engineered to withstand disasters like super typhoons that may hit in the future. Aside from the disaster-resilient concrete houses, each SM Cares housing village is also planted with vetiver grass to help manage slopes and control soil erosion, sewage treatment, materials recovery facility, and rainwater catchment system.
Each beneficiary is carefully selected with the help of various NGOs and community groups, which conducted interviews and profiling. Melba de Luna, a 43-year old housewife, expressed her positive outlook by volunteering as a cooperative member in their community in Bgy. Kawayan.
“Dininig ng Diyos ang panalangin namin na bigyan kami ng bahay na safe. Ngayon kahit sobrang lakas ng hangin sa labas, hindi namin halos maramdaman,” de Luna attested. “Sa kinikita ng asawa ko sa pagmamaneho, naglalaan kami para lalong pagandahin itong bahay naming.” (God heard our prayer to give us a safe house. Now even when the wind is strong outside, we can hardly feel it. With my husband’s earnings from driving, we save up to make this house look better.) Her husband drives a taxicab for a living.
SM Cares’ housing project for the survivors of Yolanda was made possible by the selfless support of its customers, business partners, service providers, employees and local communities. Through these donors, SM was able to raise the necessary fund to complete 1,000 concrete homes where its owners can feel safer and more secure after what they went through three years ago.