To help rebuild homes and lives of victims of Typhoon Lawin that hit Cagayan Valley late last year, the Foundation participated in the calamity assistance project of the St. Peter Cathedral Parish called “Be a Hero, Donate a Yero.” Through Hope Caravan, the Foundation’s staff joined the Parish volunteers last January 10, 2017 to give assistance to 317 families from six towns by distributing coupons to exchange not only for “yero” (roofing materials) but also for other housing construction items worth a total of P3,000 per family.
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“Araw-araw po akong nagdarasal na sana may tumulong sa amin. Dininig po ng Diyos ang panalangin ko. Tila hulog po kayo ng langit sa amin. Maraming salamat po sa inyo sa Tan Yan Kee Foundation, pati sa mga kasama ni Father, kasi napakalaking bagay po nito. Hindi po kami nawawalan ng pag-asa na makakabangon kami.”--Yolanda Pascual, 47, Housewife, Iguig
“Napakahirap po mawalan ng bahay. Kung ano lang po ang natira noong bagyo, iyon lang po ang ginawa naming barong-barong para lang po may masilungan kami. Pero unti-unti, sa tulong ng mga gaya ninyo, nakakabangon kami. Nagpapasalamat po kami sa Foundation at sa Cathedral, napakalaking bagay po ng tulong ninyo na ito sa amin.”--Lilibeth Lauriaga, 53, Farmer, Solana
“Napakapalad po namin na mayroong mga mabubuting gaya ninyo na tinutulungan ang mga gaya naming mahihirap para makapagtayo muli ng bahay at makabangon. Malaking tulong po ito sa biyenan ko na wala ng ibang pagkukunan ng pagkakakitaan. Maraming salamat po!”--Jaime Pangilan for Pacita Paguirigan, 50 and 83, Bagay
Typhoon Lawin wreaked havoc in different provinces in the northern part of the Philippines leaving massive devastation in its wake. According to reports, in October 2016, thousands of infrastructure and houses were damaged and an estimated total of 12,715 families were affected in Cagayan Valley, Isabela, and Quirino. In Cagayan Valley alone, an estimate of 5.2 billion pesos was damaged in the agricultural sector; hence, affecting the livelihood of most of the residents in the province. According to the local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 80% of the houses in Tuguegarao City has been partially or totally damaged and more than a month after the calamity, many residents have yet to rebuild their houses and go back to their normal lives.
Under the leadership of Monsignor Gerry Ariston Perez, a well-organized group of Parish volunteers helped visit and survey different barangays in Enrile, Iguig, Peñablanca, Piat, Solana, and Tuguegarao City to select beneficiaries and evaluate the extent of damage in their houses. The Foundation also dropped by the damaged houses of some recipients to personally see how the people are coping in the aftermath of the typhoon. Following project guidelines, the Foundation prioritized families of farmers, those with no regular income, the elderly and indigents as beneficiaries of assistance.
The distribution program which was held at the St. Peter Cathedral started with a Holy Mass officiated by Monsignor Gerry Ariston Perez. In his Homily, Monsignor Gerry reminded everyone that prayer is still the best weapon to overcome trials in life and thanked the Foundation on behalf of the beneficiaries. Meanwhile, Mr. Philip Sing, the Foundation Head, also gave a very inspiring message to the typhoon victims and encouraged them to attend Church Mass regularly and become closer to God and His blessings.
Julieta Datul of Sitio Pallua Sur is very grateful for the assistance. Her family of four is now living with her other relatives since their house was totally wrecked from the typhoon. What once was a living area is now a pile of rubble, flooded with muck and stagnant water. Staring at their roof to the ground, she could not imagine how they would rise from the misfortune that struck months ago. For her, the Foundation did not just give housing materials, but hope that they could start their life anew.
Nicanor Abana, a resident of Pallua Norte, recalls losing many family heirlooms and memorabilia of their ancestral house due to the supertyphoon. He says that his income from haircutting services in their neighborhood would not be enough to restore their two-storey house. He is now very thankful that the Foundation helped him recreate their old abode into a smaller one-storey structure.
As the Foundation reaches more communities to aid in their social welfare needs, more people are given hope that they could have a fresh start and move forward.