PALANOG, TACLOBAN CITY – More than a year has passed since Super Typhoon Yolanda (International code name: Haiyan) hit the Philippines yet thousands of families still live in evacuation sites and transitional houses. They’ve lost their loved ones and properties as well as their hope to start anew. To help alleviate this difficult situation, Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, Inc., (OB) started constructing a Community of Hope which would provide permanent shelters to Typhoon Yolanda survivors.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 4, 2015 to celebrate the start of construction of the Community of Hope in Palanog, Tacloban City. According to Operation Blessing’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operation Officer, Dr. Kim April Pascual, “We’re not just building a subdivision, we are building a community of hope where people would gather, serve, and love one another. We want to see a community that loves God.”
Dr. Pascual added that the community will not only have permanent shelters, it will also have an agricultural farm area, livelihood/market area, transport terminal, children and elderly parks, youth activity and recreation area, daycare, health and multi-purpose centers.
With the help of Operation Blessing’s faithful and generous partners, namely, the Local Government of Tacloban, HILTI, ISACC, and KMBI, the survivors’ dream to have their own house and be part of a community will soon become a reality. According to ISACC’s President, Dr. Melba Maggay, they are now starting the selection process to determine who among those presently living in evacuation centers will be awarded permanent housing.
“Of all the groups that came here in Tacloban, only the faith-based organizations, especially Operation Blessing, has really stayed and dedicated their time to look after our people,” said Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez in his message during the groundbreaking ceremony.“You didn’t leave us and we are really grateful for that. What you do here in Tacloban affects the whole region.”
He also emphasized that the best gift they have ever received from all the volunteers and organizations that visit Tacloban is, “the knowledge that you impart whenever you talk to them. People adapt the way you talk, the way you execute things, your beliefs, and most especially the relationship you build with them. We value that.”
Aside from the Local Government of Tacloban, the President and Chief Executive Officer of HILTI Foundation – Base Bahay, Inc., Regan Schegg, also expressed her excitement for the project: “I am very glad that we found and partnered with Operation Blessing! We need to do our best so we can help more people!”
Also present during the event were CBN Asia and Operation Blessing Philippines President, Peter Kairuz; CBN Asia EVP-COO and Operation Blessing Board of Trustees member, John Tan; CBN Asia Board of Trustees member, Ms. Coney Reyes; Tacloban City Vice Mayor, Jerry Yaokasin; as well as the community and church partners.
To date, Operation Blessing Philippines’ Typhoon Yolanda Disaster Response efforts served a total of 805, 361 individuals or 144,912 families in Samar, Leyte, Northern Cebu, Palawan, and Panay Island, They have already completed 226 housing projects with 140 ongoing in Eastern Samar, Panay Island, and Leyte benefiting more than 1,500 people.
To know more information and ways on how you can help in the ongoing construction of Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines Community of Hope, call or text Gigi Endaya, RSW, Manager, Corporate Communications and Resource Development at these numbers: (+632) 477-7806/ 0917-501-2191/ 0918-906-7753/ 0922-898-3872.
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