100 families rendered homeless by super typhoon Haiyan in 2013 are now owners of disaster-resilient houses at the Pope Francis-CFC ANCOP Canada Community in Palo, Leyte Central Philippines.
In a turnover ceremony on June 30, 2015 fifty-five families received the key to their new homes. All the rest of the homes will be awarded to the beneficiaries end of July. The turnover was formalized by the signing of a memo of agreement by representatives of CFC ANCOP Canada, SM Foundation, and the recipients. It was a day of jubilation for the family beneficiaries who had endured the miserable conditions of makeshifts and shanties that housed them. Moreso, it was a celebration for the stakeholders behind this huge settlement effort after many months of painstaking preparation and actual development.
Present during the ceremony were officials of CFC ANCOP Global and CFC ANCOP International (Canada), SM Foundation, representatives from the local government and the archdiocese, and the beneficiary families. In his speech, CFC ANCOP Global Board Chairman Joe Yamamoto expressed that despite the huge loss of lives and properties due to Haiyan people should not lose hope. “We will help one another, and with these homes the start of rebuilding your families will be realized,” he said.
Ricky Cuenca, President of ANCOP International Canada encouraged the families to move on with their lives in their new homes and to remain hopeful and faithful. He told those present that “this is a blessing and just a beginning.” Cuenca further explained that CFC ANCOP would be helping in the community’s development and formation.
CFC ANCOP officials with Carmen Linda Atayde of SM Foundation (seated (2nd) front row from left), representatives from the local government and archdiocese and the beneficiaries during the memo of agreement signing. Back Row (L-R) Joe Yamamoto- Board Chairman, CFC ANCOP Global (2nd), Jimmy Ilagan – President, CFC ANCOP Global (3rd), Ricky Cuenca – President, CFC ANCOP Canada (5th), and Greg Parillas – Board Chairman, CFC ANCOP Canada (8th)
Carmen Linda Atayde, Senior Assistant Vice President of SM and Executive Director for Education of SM Foundation represented SM – a giant real estate corporation in the Philippines and one of the biggest retail conglomerates in Asia. She expressed that once the housing project is completed “efforts can already be geared towards integrated initiatives” to help people rebuild their lives. “SM Foundation has medical missions and education programs,” Atayde shared hinting that these programs will soon be made available to the families.
Aguilar, one of the beneficiaries, shared his pain of losing one of his kids to Haiyan. He is comforted by the special memory of Pope Francis visiting his makeshift house and the pontiff’s moving speech to the people during the pope’s visit in Tacloban January 2015. “We are excited with our new house. This is something we can now proudly say our own!” Aguilar said.
The Maceda couple told people that their house was completely destroyed and washed out during the onslaught of Haiyan. They shared that now they “feel safer and excited” in their new home.
Also present during the event were representatives from the local government and a pastor on behalf of the Archbishop of Palo who will also provide support in maintaining growth and development in the community.
The Pope Francis-CFC ANCOP Canada Community in Barangay New Kawayan in Palo, Leyte is a 400-housing unit settlement community project under the partnership of CFC ANCOP Canada (a partner of CFC ANCOP GLOBAL) and SM Foundation/SM Cares the outreach arm of SM. The archdiocese of Palo, Leyte donated a forested land where the houses will be built.
The project started with a groundbreaking ceremony in December 2014. CFC ANCOP Canada funds the building of 100 houses and oversees community development and formation, while SM Cares funds the building of the remaining 300 houses and the facilities. SM also undertakes land development and the actual construction of the facilities and housing units that are disaster-resilient, with concrete ceilings and plenty of ventilation.
Ricky Cuenca acknowledges the massive financial and infrastructure development support that SM Foundation through SM Cares has extended for this project. The community will be built complete with facilities including water, electrical, sewerage, and road systems. It will also be provided a chapel, community center, and a mini park. All housing units will be completed in September 2015.
For the 400 hundred families who had been living the horror of the utter devastation brought by super typhoon Haiyan, the new houses will help restore their dignity. It will be a means for them to overcome the pain of losing loved ones and properties – to start anew and go on with their lives.
By ANCOP Canada