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PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 26, 2012


Feature: Hope of owning a GK house gives a Sendong victim a new start

ILIGAN CITY, Lanao del Norte, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- Hope runs high for Joan Valdez, whose three children perished, during the onslaught of tropical storm Sendong last Dec. 17.

“Mr. President, I really thank you for your help. I am one of the Sendong victims whose house in Barangay Hinaplanon was washed out,” she told President Benigno S. Aquino III, in Cebuano.

“Two of my children drowned while one was missing. After 40 days, however, I have accepted the fact that my 3rd child is also gone,” she added.

“Gihuboan mi ni Sendong sa tanan namong butang, lakip na ang among mga anak (We have been stripped of everything, including our children by Sendong). All that was left for me is my husband. And your project to give us a permanent home is very much welcome for us to have a new start,” she said.

The President was in the city for the second time since the tragedy to honor the dead victims on the 40th day of mourning and for the Former President Corazon C. Aquino, his mother, whose birthday also falls on Jan. 25.

This optimism that Joan shared with the other Sendong victims in today’s visit of the President to Iligan has rubbed off to the other beneficiaries of the “Bayanihan sa Bayan ng Iligan” Build Shelter Project in Barangay Sta. Elena, this city.

A 15.9 hectare property of the National Steel Corp. (NSC), this portion of the “Steel Town” which is donated to the Iligan City Government may yet turn out to be the largest single relocation site for the Sendong victims in the region.

Meanwhile, the President who attended the Jan. 25, Day of Volunteerism in Iligan City which aims to build the first 300 units of the 1,700 Gawad Kalinga (GK) houses in the relocation site, has actually participated in mixing cement and painting one of the GK houses in the area.

With him were Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz, Congressman Vicente Belmonte, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman and some other members of his cabinet.

“Sa bawat paghahalo ng semento para magkumpuni ng bahay at sa pagpipintura nito, huwag tayong pabaya (Everytime we mix cement to make a house or when we paint it, we have to remember) to really take care of the environment,” he said.

“Huwag na po tayong magmatigas ang ulo na hindi sumunod sa batas para hindi na po tayo masampulan ng Inang Kalikasan (Let’s not be hard-headed in following the law, so we can evade the wrath of Mother Nature),” the President added.

A total of 58,320 families with 316,860 members were affected by Sendong in Region 10, of which 20,249 families with 90,264 members were from Iligan City and 38,071 families with 228,576 members were from Cagayan de Oro City.

Data gathered by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) show that a total of 11,047 houses in the region were totally damaged and 27,509 houses were partially damaged because of Sendong.

Of those totally damaged, 5,246 were from Iligan City and 5,801 were from Cagayan de Oro City.

Likewise, of those partially damaged, 14,874 were from Iligan City and 12,635 were from Cagayan de Oro City. (PIA-10)

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