“Napakalakas ng hangin, napakalakas din ng ulan. Hindi namin alam kung anong gagawin namin basta kinukuha na lang namin ‘yung kaya naming buhatin. Nag-alarma yung ambulansya sa labas ng bahay namin kasi kailangan na namin ulit mag-evacuate,” recounted Manang Analyn Doel, 43, a gardener from Sitio Mamuyod, Ambassador, Benguet.

Manang Analyn’s family is among the eighty-one (81) households affected by Typhoon Odette in Tublay which slaughtered the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) on September 2013.

“Kahit napakalas ng bagyo, mapalad pa rin kami na walang nasaktan sa aming pamilya o komunidad,” Manang Analyn added. The local government of Tublay has conducted a pre-emptive evacuation to the residents of Sitio Mamuyod and in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office CAR (DSWD- CAR) they have provided relief goods to the evacuees.

However, the livelihood of the family was not spared from the onslaught of Typhoon Odette. “Nasira lahat ng pananim namin. Durog-durog ‘yung mga dahon. Naisip namin na kung hindi na kayang isalba ang mga pananim namin, wala kaming kikitain ng ilang buwan. Babalik kami ulit sa simula,” said Manang Analyn. Unfortunately, the crops of the family have been greatly damaged by the typhoon.

Aside from their concern on their damaged livelihood, the residents also feared the worsening signs of a bigger problem.

Since Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng hit Sitio Mamuyod on 2009, the residents started to notice cracks on their concrete streets. In a few years, the cracks grew, blocks of cement were uprooted from the ground, and houses became unsafe to live in. A visit from a geologist in 2013 confirmed that Sitio Mamuyod is a sinking area.

With this at hand, the local government of Tublay decided to solve the problem from the root.

“We decided that we need to relocate the people of Mamuyod. May nahanap tayo sa barangay Ambassador din na lote, ipina-assess natin ito sa Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) at lumabas na ligtas ito at maaaring lipatan ng mga residente,” said Tublay Mayor Ruben E. Paoad. The local government of Tublay was able to purchase the lot and divided it amongst the residents of Sitio Mamuyod. A representative from each household helped one another in clearing the relocation area.

The DSWD have strengthened its partnership with the local government of Tublay in providing long-term assistance to the residents of Sitio Mamuyod. “We have requested the DSWD to provide funding for core shelters. We are happy to say that the request has been approved by the central office and the budget has already been downloaded to the regional office. We are ready to start building new homes for the people of Sitio Mamuyod,” said Mayor Paoad.

Seventy eight (78) core shelter units with shelter assistance amounting to Php 5,460,000.00 have been allotted by the Department to Sitio Mamuyod. An additional Php 163,800.00 has also been allotted for the Cash for Work program to be implemented in the said community.

Meanwhile, the DSWD with its partners have already conducted typhoon preparedness trainings with the residents. “Maganda sa komunidad namin kasi noong humupa yung bagyo, mayroong mga taga-DSWD at LGU na nag-training sa amin kung ano ang mga dapat gawin kapag may bagyo. Dahil doon, nabuo ‘yung komunidad namin, nagtutulungan na kami ngayon tuwing may bagyo o kahit umuulan lang ng malakas,” said Manang Analyn. The community learned about which household items they should bring with them to the evacuation center such as spare clothes, canned goods, and medicine.

Manang Analyn also emphasized the benefits of being a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary during crises. While waiting for their garden to produce crops, Manang Analyn and her husband have little income to support their family. But with Pantawid Pamilya on their side, the family is assured that the education of their children will not be put on hold. “Nasho-short kami tuwing bumabagyo dahil walang kita kapag nasisira ang mga gulay, buti na lang mayroong Pantawid Pamilya para kahit wala kaming kita, mayroong nakalaan para sa pag-aaral at pagkain ng mga bata habang inaayos namin ‘yung mga pananim,” mentioned Manang Analyn. “Kaya kong magtrabaho ng maghapon sa garden para hindi maranasan ng mga anak ko yung mga paghihirap ko ngayon”, Manang Analyn added.

As a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, Manang Analyn is eligible to avail of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD, however, she believes that through hard work, she will be able to provide the needs of her family. “Sapat na po saamin yung cash grant mula sa Pantawid para sa pangangailangan ng aming mga anak, yung ibang pangangailangan po namin, kaya po naming pagsikapan yun at mas pagtrabahuan kung kinakailangan”, she shared.

On the other hand, the local government of Tublay plans to give long-term solution to the problem in Sitio Mamuyod in partnership with the DSWD. To discuss the particulars of the core shelter project, a meeting with representatives of DSWD-CAR, NGOs, and leaders of the community in Sitio Mamuyod was conducted on October 29. “We need to converge to solve this problem,” Mayor Paoad added.

While for Manang Analyn, the upcoming construction of the core shelter units and the continuous assistance from the Pantawid Pamilya Program gives her a better hope for a sturdier future for her family. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT with Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva and Ann Jennica R. Quirimit

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