Outpour of public support fuels hope of Bantayan Island 'Yolanda' survivors

June 19, 2018

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Almost five years after Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) wreaked havoc in central Philippines, the survivors in Bantayan Island, Cebu still remember it like it was yesterday.

Nenita Pacinio could still vividly recall the ordeal they had to go through to survive one of the strongest typhoons recorded in history.

“Naglakad kami sa dagat. Nag-iyakan na talaga lahat, naghawak-kamay. Sabi po ng kapatid ko hindi na daw niya kaya po. Sabi ko ‘kayanin mo, marami ka pang anak,” she said in between tears.

The 27-year-old seaweed farmer said they had to brave huge typhoon waves to walk to safety after losing their houses to the storm.

Surviving one of the most catastrophic storms in the Philippines is no small feat. But the young mother of one shared that an outpour of support from so many people have helped them get by.

As one of the 50 family beneficiaries of DMCI Homes and Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ socialized housing for Yolanda survivors, Pacinio is comforted by the thought they are not alone in their fight.

“Masakit po sa amin na mawalan ng bahay at hanapbuhay kaya nagpapasalamat po kami sa inyo at sa lahat ng tumutulong sa amin,” shared Pacinio.

Her home now is a far cry from their situation right after the storm where her family had to stay in a makeshift shelter made of cardboard and scrap materials in Botong island for five years along with the families of her 10 siblings.

The 16-hectare relocation site, a lot donated by Christian group March for Christ in Barangay Sulangan, hosts 392 units sponsored by different private companies. 50 housing units were donated by DMCI Homes.

The 50 DMCI Homes family beneficiaries were from the small islands which were deemed uninhabitable by the Philippine government namely—Botong, Silagon, Panangatan, Panitugan, Byagayag, and Moamboc. The beneficiaries that include Pacinio’s family started moving into their new homes last December 2017. Formal turnover of the houses will be made this June 2018.

Armed with a new hope, Pacinio is delighted to start life anew in their new home.

“Mula umpisa pagkatapos ng bagyo, marami pong dumating na tulong. Kaya sabi ko sa mga kapwa ko biktima ng bagyong Yolanda, huwag silang mawawalan ng pag-asa,” Pacinio revealed.

“Kasi lahat ng bagay may solusyon saka marami ring darating na tulong, pagkakakitaan, pabahay. Huwag lamang silang susuko,” she said with a smile.

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