It is more than three years now since Typhoon Pablo wreaked unimaginable havoc in the three towns of Davao Oriental – the municipalities of Boston, Baganga, including my hometown of Cateel. Albeit the scars of the monstrous disaster is still visible, victims of Typhoon Pablo today along with their families are gradually moving forward from their dreadful experience dealing with the aftermath of most disastrous typhoon ever to hit that year. My relatives included.
The wounds caused by Typhoon Pablo are slowly healing. People are getting back to their lives. Those who lost their homes get new ones. Those farms that are severely destroyed by the monstrous winds are replanted again. Alternative sources of living are introduced. Those who are jobless are taught with new livelihood trainings. Many, especially those who benefited so much from the different aid and assistance given to all victims, somehow considered Typhoon Pablo as a blessing in disguise. I’ve seen so many changes from what was used to be ground zero to well-rehabilitated towns now.
Three years after the massive catastrophe, blessings still pour in in these three towns of Davao Oriental. Very recently, the MVP Tulong Kapatid, the corporate social responsibility consortium of the companies led by businessmen Manuel V. Pangilinan, formally turned over 266 housing units to the families who were left homeless in Baganga. Coming from a heartbreaking disaster, I witnessed how all these beneficiaries beamed with so much joy and deep gratitude as they accepted their new typhoon-resilient homes they can now finally call their very own. Others even wept for joy saying they have better homes now compared to the ones destroyed by Typhoon Pablo.
The village is now known as MVP Tulong Kapatid Homes and it is located in Barangay Lambajon. It is situated in a five-hectare resettlement site provided and developed by the Provincial Government. I am so impressed to see that the design of the housing units exceeded the usual specifications for social housing. What’s more, these houses are designed to withstand up to 250 kph winds.
Aside from typhoon resilient houses, the village also features a community clinic, paved subdivision roads, as well as electrical and water services. Now, homeowners consider their new community as the new foundation of their hopes and dreams.
As someone who came from the same typhoon-stricken area, it is truly inspiring to see how this solid partnership between the MVP Tulong Kapatid and the Provincial Government led by Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon turned this sad catastrophe into a great opportunity to help alleviate the lives of those victims who once lost hope after the tragedy and build them not only durable homes but resilient community. I can now imagine these new homeowners who come from different typhoon-stricken parts of Baganga now living together in one community sharing new hopes, new dreams, and new beginnings.
In her speech during the turn-over ceremonies, I saw how deeply grateful Governor Cora was as she conveyed her message of gratitude to all the stakeholders especially to Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan for building a project that gave hope to the whole community. She shared the same joy and happiness with the new homeowners. For the beneficiaries, she urged them to make their new community a model of the building-back-better principle and a great foundation for moving forward.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo, Governor Malanyaon spearheaded the “Building Back Better” program that will serve as guiding principle for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the three hard-hit towns in the Province. Partnership with private institutions like the MVP Group of Companies is part of this program.
PROVINCIAL-LED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS BUILT AFTER TYPHOON PABLO
More than three years have passed now and our three towns along with our people are getting up moving forward from the wrath of Typhoon Pablo. There are so many things to be thankful. And that includes all those who help rehabilitate and reconstruct these three towns – the government, NGOs and private groups. They build not only houses, but they cemented the hopes and dreams of the people who are once tested by the rage of nature.