Philippines: PGMA gives Antique typhoon victims new lease on life

VALDERRAMA, Antique -- In less than a year after Typhoon "Frank" devastated this municipality, local residents are well on their way to rebuilding their future, as government intensifies efforts to bring back normalcy to people's lives here.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today (April 23) visited this municipality to lead the distribution of various government assistance to help typhoon victims recover from the devastation wrought by "Frank."

The Chief Executive personally awarded certificates of occupancy to 89 families whose houses were destroyed by the typhoon that hit Antique in June last year.

Under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shelter assistance program, the 89 displaced families will be transferred to a new relocation site in Barangay Borocboroc.

Last August, the government released roughly P4.5 million to develop the four-hectare Borocboroc relocation site for the typhoon victims. Each shelter costs P50,000.

"Congratulations. You now have a new home," the President told the typhoon victims during the ceremonies held at the Valderrama Central Elementary School.

For 34-year-old Jonathan Canja and his family, the new shelter means a safe and comfortable abode.

"In the new house that was given to us by the government, I know that our lives will go on," said Canja.

For 73-year-old Lucia Eto, the emotional and physical pressures caused by homelessness are over.

"I am thankful to the President. We now have a new home which we can proudly call our own," Eto said.

For Rufino Ynion and his family, their new shelter is the best gift they have received from the government.

"With this (house), we can now look forward to a more secure future," Ynion said.

In addition to the new houses, a new school building was also built at the Borocboroc relocation site, Valderrama Mayor Mary Joyce Roquero said.

To help the 89 families with their daily needs, the President also distributed cash subsidies amounting to P179,600 through the DSWD's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The 89 beneficiaries were among the 622 poor families in this municipality given cash grants totaling P1.213 million.

Other 4Ps beneficiaries are from Barangays Bunsod, P148,800 (75 beneficiaries); Cansilayan, P83,800 (43 beneficiaries); Lublub, P235,000 (124 beneficiaries); Manlacbo, P243,000 (128 beneficiaries), and Pandanan, P322,600 (163 beneficiaries).

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a poverty-reduction strategy that provide grants to extremely-poor households for their health, nutrition and education needs, particularly children aged 0-14 years.

The cash subsidies distributed by the President was the second tranche of cash grants for the province of P20,307,700 for 10,510 beneficiaries in 173 barangays .

The P20.3 million allocation brings to P44,315,700 the total cash grants to Antique province. During the last quarter of 2008, the government released P24 million in cash grants to Antique.

Antiquenos expressed their gratitude to the President for visiting the province and for the her assistance to the typhoon victims.

"We welcomed you (the President) with great affection and gratitude. We feel so honored to be part of your provincial sorties," Antique Gov. Salvacion Perez said.

Perez cited the Arroyo administration for fast-paced development of Antique province.

For his part, Rep. Exequiel Javier expressed his deep gratitude to the President for the attention she has given to the development of Antique.

"No President has done so much for the upliftment of the lives of our people, except President Arroyo" Javier said.