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November 2015

A more solid roof over their heads in Daanbantayan

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Daanbantayan, Cebu – Seventy-two-year-old Lola Pacing Tayong sat quietly at the door of her newly-built house in Barangay Paypay, this town, watching kids playing outside on a newly paved road. Her 70-year-old paralyzed husband was in a donated bed, sound asleep.

“We feel comfortable and safe here. Our house near the shoreline had not been repaired since two years ago. This time, we can sleep soundly without having to worry about rising tides,” Lola Pacing said.

She recounted the terror she felt two years ago today when the super-typhoon lashed at her house. Her husband suffered a stroke during the onslaught of Yolanda.

Lola Pacing’s family was one of 128 families in Barangay Paypay whose house was ravaged by super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Exactly two years after the destruction wrought by the typhoon, survivors in the barangay here have moved to new, safer houses in the first fully-developed Red Cross Village in the town.

The village is a unique project and the first-fully developed resettlement site for typhoon victims in the Philippines. The area was donated by the Corro family.

Lola Pacing and other beneficiaries now have houses they can call their own – a 30 square meter typhoon enhanced housing unit with a bathroom and latrine, a septic tank, and a decentralized treatment system for grey and used waters.

Energy is provided through a 33-kilowatt photovoltaic power plant, installed through the efforts of the Red Cross and Electricians Without Boarders, a French NGO, enabling all households to access electricity at half the price.

“Better and safe housing is key to recovery but it is only by providing proper water sanitation and energy access and making sure that people have access to livelihoods that we can support their long term resilience,” said Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon.

French Ambassador to the Philippines, Thierry Mathou, who graced the inauguration of the housing projects, assured the Philippines that the assistance of the French government will not end with the completion of the housing project.

Mathou said France will continue to support disaster risk reduction initiatives in the Philippines.

It was immediately after typhoon Yolanda when the France-Philippines United Actions (FP-UA), a consortium of leading French companies operating in the Philippines, was created to coordinate the relief and rehabilitation efforts of the French business community in the Philippines.

The P84-million project in Barangay Paypay was implemented with the support of the French Red Cross, and in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Philippines and France-Philippines United Action. French companies such as Total, Sanofi, and Caisse des Depots also donated to realize the project.

Gordon said the housing in Brgy. Paypay is part of the Philippine Red Cross’s three-year $360-million recovery plan for 500,00 people in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Leyte, Eastern and Western Samar, Cebu and Palawan.

At the newly paved road inside the housing project in Brgy. Paypay, five -year-old Christian happily played with his new neighbors while their parents were busy preparing for the foreign visitors.

“I like it here. The place is clean and smells good,” Christian told the Manila Bulletin prior to the inauguration of the new houses inside the village.

Source: Manila Bulletin

The Road to Paris Starts in Daanbantayan

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On November 6, two years after typhoon Haiyan struck the Visayas, two disaster-resilient villages funded by the Filipino-French business community and the French public generosity were delivered to residents of Daanbantayan.

Located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific, the Philippines is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, five of which are destructive. Climate change is expected to make these events more frequent and powerful in the coming years.

Two years ago, on November 8 2013, typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines affecting about 14 million people and causing more than 6,000 fatalities.

As a response to this tragedy, France-Philippines United Action (FP-UA), a consortium of leading French companies operating in the Philippines, was created in order to coordinate the relief and rehabilitation efforts lead by the French business community in the Philippines.

FP-UA was launched to address coordination and communication issues and improve the efficiency of French-led actions for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. In the face of massive devastation in 2013, the French Ambassador to the Philippines at that time, His Excellency Gilles Garachon, convened representatives from leading French companies, the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur, and the French Chamber of Commerce to form the consortium, which is also tasked to encourage optimal allocation of goods, define key evaluation areas, provide various opportunities for involvements, and communicate all these efforts to the public.

In line with President Benigno Aquino III’s approval of the P167.9-billion reconstruction plan for the Visayas to “Build Back Better” after Haiyan, the FP-UA marked two years of coordinated relief efforts from the French private sector by delivering its two sites in Daanbantayan to the beneficiary families on November 6, 2015.

The first village is a partnership with the NGO Habitat for Humanity Philippines, which completed the construction of 76 disaster-resilient houses as well as a multi-purpose center on a 5,488-square-meter site in Daanbantayan, barangay Agujo. The companies involved in this project include Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc. (formerly Lafarge), Schneider, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Megacem, Archetype, ParexGroup and Manille Bienvenue.

The Habitat French Village was inaugurated on the morning of November 6 by no less than the French Ambassador, Thierry Mathou, himself, together with the local authorities and the FP-UA members and partners. The 76 beneficiary families were there to witness the event; waving drawn flags of the Philippines and France in appreciation of the partnership between the two countries that provided them with a safe and durable homes.


RIBBON CUTTING: Charlito Ayco, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Dilip Vaswani, Chairman of FP-UA, H.E. French Ambassador Thierry Mathou, Christophe Riout, President of the French Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Corro of Daanbantayan, Renato Sunico, President of Republic Cement & Building Materials, and Hilario P. Davide III, Governor of Cebu Province inaugurate the Habitat French Village on Barangay Agujo.



MOVING IN: Families in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, are ready to move in their new disaster resilient houses.




WAVING FLAGS: The families in barangay Agujo were waving Philippine and French flags in appreciation.

On the afternoon, the festivities moved to barangay Paypay where another village was inaugurated. Led by the Philippine Red Cross in partnership with the French Red Cross, this rehabilitation site, referred to as the Red Cross Village, is built on a 13,500-square-meter lot, also in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Philippines as well as FP-UA. Thanks to donations by Total, Sanofi, the French Red Cross and Caisse des Dépôts, this village includes 128 houses, a multi-purpose center as well as a livelihood center, a day-care center and a barangay health center.

All the partners and representatives of the donor companies were gathered to witness the event. H.E. French Ambassador, Thierry Mathou, together with Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, remitted a symbolic key to one of the beneficiary families to mark the completion of the project.

Keys to beneficiaries Site 2

KEY HANDOVER: H.E French Ambassador Thierry Mathou, Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Charlito Ayco, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Oliver Gonzales, Market Access Manager at Sanofi and Gwendolyn Pang, Secretary General of the Philippine Red Cross remitted a symbolic key to one of the beneficiary families.



Turnover Site 2_1

SEALING A PARTNERSHIP: Surrounded by Representatives of FP-UA and the Red Cross, Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Mayor Corro of Daanbantayan and Charlito Ayco, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, shake hands over the delivery of the Paypay project.





MODEL HOUSE: Together with the Red Cross and FP-UA representatives as well as the local authorities, Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, the French Ambassador, Thierry Mathou and Dilip Vaswani, Chairman of FP-UA, pose in front of the model houses built in barangay Paypay.

From the onset, the benefits of these projects were envisioned to endure the long term. The houses were specially designed by Filipino Architect E. Florentino to withstand up to intensity 8 earthquakes and 275-300 kilometer-per-hour winds.  These houses will be able to resist future storms, which are predicted to become increasingly strong in the coming years due to climate change.

In fact, during the turnover ceremonies of both sites, French Ambassador Thierry Mathou congratulated the disaster resilience component of these projects. “The Road to Paris starts in Daanbantayan” he stated during the inauguration of the two villages in November 6; referring to France’s engagement to finally turn the tide of climate change at the COP 21 UN climate change to be held in Paris this December. President François Hollande himself emphasized this when he visited the Philippines in February this year and, together with President Benigno Aquino III, launched the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change, a global appeal to act for the climate. From October 5-11, the French Embassy in Manila organized the “Climate Week” with the slogan “The Road to Paris Starts in Manila” with the aim of expressing support for an ambitious, universal and legally binding agreement on the climate during COP21 in Paris.

Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro also praised the FP-UA consortium this time for its reactivity “They were the early birds, they were the first to come in and they are still here”. In fact the construction of the first village started less than 2 months after the typhoon and the construction of the second village initiated in May 2014.

These two villages will benefit 204 families who lost their homes in the typhoon and were until now living in makeshift shelters in zones at risk by the shoreline. They will be relocated to these permanent houses that will all have access to safe water, proper sanitation, and stable electricity. The aim of these projects is to help these families get back to their lives and increase their resilience to help them better cope with future disasters.

The construction of a third site will soon be added to the projects handled by FP-UA.  Cités Unies France (CUF) will fund the construction of a village in the municipality of Bogo, Northern Cebu. The site selected for this project is a 5,000 square-meter lot in barangay Cayang Bogo City, located in Northern Cebu. CUF will finance the construction of 46 houses on the same Hypar Model design as built by Habitat for Humanity in Site 1.

“We are very grateful to FP-UA for its desire to partner with us in rebuilding the lives of the people of Daanbantayan,” said Charlie Ayco, Managing Director and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philippines. “Like FP-UA, we are here [in Daanbantayan] for the long-haul, continuing to provide homes for those in need.”

Constructing the houses, meanwhile, is just the first of many steps towards building a disaster-resilient future for residents of Daanbantayan, and the French business community remains steadfast in its commitment to help Filipinos rebuild their lives. In fact, the FP-UA and the French Red Cross are now working to create an integrated community development program aimed at restoring livelihood for the affected residents as well as improving their disaster preparedness. The Red Cross is already backing a local fishing association, named KAUGMARAN, which members mainly come from the rehabilitation project in Agujo. The Red Cross will assist them in restoring their fishponds. Furthermore, a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project is already well under way in this barangay where a team of 143 Red Cross volunteers have been trained and a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment of the area has been made.

With nearly two years of existence, the projects of FP-UA have already garnered important support. In January 2015, Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, visited our sites in Daanbantayan and was very impressed with the joint efforts initiated by the Filipino-French private community. So impressed in fact that a few weeks later, French President François Hollande himself highlighted the achievements of FP-UA during his official visit to the Philippines. He also announced the future conversion of FP-UA into a Foundation of the French Chamber of Commerce.

On September 23 2015, the FP-UA Foundation was registered and made official in front of the French business community. Its aim is to be the key channel for French organizations in the Philippines for effective and CSR driven solutions to FP-UA’s key pillars: Children’s Welfare, Disaster Rehabilitation and Health by 2018. The Foundation will strive to encourage and strengthen the CSR activities of the French industry in the Philippines. It will serve as a bridge between the French companies in the Philippines that would like to contribute to CSR projects and the implementing NGOs that are looking for private backers.

“We at FP-UA credit the French embassy for bringing together the French business community in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.” said Dilip Vaswani, President and Managing Director of Total (Philippines) Corporation and Chairman of FP-UA. “Collectively, we can make a larger impact and bridge the support that companies are willing to provide to sectors of Philippine society that need it most.”

All the members and partners of FP-UA reiterated their commitment to the Foundation for the years to come. Since the creation of FP-UA, French companies have governed the structure and participated in decisions ranging from dealing with construction as well as selecting which projects to endorse. .“There is a long road ahead to recovery, and this is just the beginning. Total is committed to continue to support FP-UA in its efforts to uplift the lives of those affected by Tyhoon Yolanda. We look forward to future projects of FP-UA that will expand to develop other underserved sectors of Philippine society,” said Vaswani who assumed the Chairmanship of the FP-UA in January this year. Before him, Don Lee, Country CEO of Republic Cement & Building Materials, was chairman for the year 2013-2014.

The FP-UA Foundation would like to thank all of its partners and donors for their continuous support and unwavering commitment to these projects.

IMG_7139_1 IMG_7171_1 IMG_7293_1

Site 1 Site 2 Site 3
Location Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu Island Barangay Paypay, Daanbantayan, Cebu Island Barangay Cayang, Bogo City, Cebu Island
Land Size 5,400 m2 13,500 m2 5,000 m2
Leading Donors Republic Cement & Building Materials, Schneider, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Megacem, Archetype, ParexGroup, Manille Bienvenue Total, Sanofi, Caisse des Dépôts, French Red Cross Cités-Unies France
Leading NGO Habitat for Humanity Philippine Red Cross in partnership with the French Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity
Number of homes 76 128 46
Additional Facilities Multi-Purpose Center A Barangay Health Station, A Day-Care Center, A Livelihood Center, A Red Cross Room, A 33kw Photovoltaic solar power plant, an autonomous Decentralized Water Treatment System (Dewats) Multi-Purpose Center
Total Budget USD 500,000 USD 1M USD 259,292
Progress Site completed. Site completed. Construction will start in November. The first “model” house will be erected in January 2016.
Completion November 2015 November 2015 2016

Villages full of survivors move on

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DAANBANTAYAN—The house where Roselyn Tura’s family lived these past two years was built, in part, using the trunks of trees that fell during typhoon Yolanda.

But next month, thanks to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the French Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, the Turas are moving into a new house designed to withstand 300-kph winds.

When the typhoon struck last Nov. 8, 2013, and a strong wind blew off their roof, Roselyn and her husband decided it was time to go. Roselyn, 27, brought her two children, who were then one and two years old, and ran to the mountains.

Their neighbors in Barangay Paypay, Daanbantayan joined them. They had to find a way around some fallen trees.

Two years after that devastation, the Turas will move to a typhoon-resilient house.

Who helped?

At least 128 houses were built in the Red Cross Village that sits on a 1.3-hectare lot in Barangay Paypay. Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro’s sister Elaine donated the land.

Several French businesses in the Philippines funded the project through the France-Philippine United Action (FPUA).

French Ambassador to the Philippines Thierry Mathou and PRC Chairman Dick Gordon headed the turnover of houses to the Yolanda survivors in the Red Cross Village yesterday.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Mayor Corro joined them.

FPUA identified the leading donors for the construction of houses in the Red Cross Village as Total, Sanofi, Caisse des Depots and French Red Cross. Their total budget amounted to US$1 million or almost P47 million.

The floor in the Tura family’s new house is being finished, the Roselyn said they may move in this December. She works as a manicurist, while her husband is a carpenter.

Safer, stronger

Right after the typhoon, they ate coconut meat and drank its juice to survive while they were still on the mountain. When she saw what was left of their nipa hut, she told herself it would be really hard to rebuild.

They still live in the same area where their old house stood. They used 10 galvanized iron sheets they had received and took the trunks of some fallen trees to build a new house.

“We are very thankful that we are among the beneficiaries. Now, we will be safe if there is a typhoon,” she said.

Each 30-square-meter housing unit has concrete walls and a restroom. The houses share a 33-kilowatt photovoltaic power plant and the village has its own water distribution system.

“There are also livelihoods here and in the whole Province of Cebu. We have put up about P700 million,” Gordon said yesterday.

In Barangay Agujo, FPUA and Habitat also turned over 76 typhoon-resilient houses to beneficiaries in the French Village. This community stands on a 5,400-square-meter lot donated by the Cebu Provincial Government.

More to do

FPUA’s leading sponsors provided US$500,000 or more than P23 million. They include Republic Cement and Building Materials, Schneider, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Megacem, Archetype, ParexGroup and Manille Bienvenue.

“These are resilient houses that can withstand 300-kph typhoons or a magnitude-7 earthquake,” said Architect Edilberto Florentino.

Ambassador Mathou assured that the French people will be ready to help those affected by calamities.

“We also have to work with local populations to give them shelter in case this kind of catastrophe comes again. This is why it is so important for the Philippine Government and our community to help the people here to build resilient houses,” he said.

Governor Davide and Vice Governor Magpale thanked all the donors.

For his part, Mayor Corro said he was thankful for all the donations, but that more still needed to be done. Some 1,500 families continue to live in danger zones and will have to be relocated.

Source: SunStar Cebu

French donors, Red Cross, Habitat come together for storm victims

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DAANBANTAYAN, Cebu—At least 200 families that were displaced by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) woke up to brand new homes almost two years to the day the killer storm devastated the Visayas.

It was a day of gladness as well as sadness as residents remembered what happened when Yolanda hit land on Nov. 8, 2013, destroying their homes and livelihood.

Fernanda Cuyos recalled that before the onslaught of the typhoon, her family—including two of their grandchildren, aged 3 and 7—evacuated to the extension campus of Cebu Technological University (CTU).

“We were very scared. When Yolanda blew off the roof of the CTU gymnasium, we had to run to another building. After the typhoon passed, we checked our house and found that it was destroyed when two coconut trees fell on it,” said Cuyos.

Yolanda had made them anxious of typhoons, afraid that they might go through the same harrowing experience they had during the supertyphoon.

But not anymore.

Last Friday, they were welcomed to their typhoon-resilient houses from the France-Philippines United Action (FP-UA) Foundation in Barangay Agujo and Paypay, Daanbantayan, 147 kilometers north of Cebu City.

The two housing projects cost $1.5 million and were financed by leading French companies.

One of the villages, the Habitat French Village, provides 76 disaster-resilient houses and a multipurpose center that were built on a 5,488-square meter property in Barangay Agujo that was donated by the Cebu provincial government.

The project was implemented in cooperation with the Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

The $500,000-funding for the French Village came from Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc. (formerly Lafarge), Schneider, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Megacem, Archetype, ParexGroup and ManilleBienvenue.

The Red Cross Village is composed of 128 houses built on 1.3 hectares in Barangay Paypay donated by Elaine Corro, sister of Daanbantayan Mayor Augustus Corro, under a usufruct agreement. This means the beneficiaries have full rights to use the property but could not dispose of it.

The $1-million Red Cross Village was funded by Total, Sanofi, Caisse des Depots and the French Red Cross. It was implemented in cooperation with the Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

Charlito Ayco, managing director and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, recalled daring Filipino architect Ed Florentino to come up with a design that was disaster-resilient, considering that a major earthquake had hit Bohol and Cebu on Oct. 15, 2013, and less than a month later, Yolanda severely damaged the areas along its path.

Florentino used the hyperbolic paraboloid concept, which allows each house to withstand up to an intensity-8 earthquake and wind velocity of up to 275-km per hour.

Each house in the French Village has a floor area of 24 sqm and an allocation for a 10-sqm loft. The houses in the Red Cross Village have a floor area each of 30 sqm.

French Ambassador Thierry Mathou noted that the French Embassy organized the FP-UA to assist French private donors, nonprofit organizations and French agencies with their rehabilitation programs.

After Yolanda devastated central Philippines, then French Ambassador Gilles Garachon convened the representatives of leading French companies, the Conseiller du Commerce Exterieur and the French Chamber of Commerce to form the consortium.

Led by the French Chamber of Commerce, the FP-UA aimed to coordinate relief and rehabilitation projects initiated by the Filipino-French business community for the typhoon victims.

The consortium first focused on Daanbantayan, which was among the most affected areas by Yolanda.

Yolanda first made landfall at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, at 4:40 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2013, then at Tolosa, Leyte at 7 a.m. and then Daanbantayan at 9:40 a.m.

Mayor Corro said the FP-UA was among the earliest to visit Daanbantayan and provided continued assistance to the town.

The construction of the French Village began less than two months after Yolanda, and the Red Cross started in May 2014.

The facilities of the Red Cross Village include a barangay health station and a day care center, a livelihood center and a Red Cross room.


Red Cross, partners to unveil village for Yolanda survivors

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NEARLY two years after super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) ripped through the Philippines, 128 families who lost their homes are moving into new, permanent houses with the support of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and its partners.

The Red Cross Village in Barangay Paypay, Daanbantayan, Cebu will be inaugurated on Friday, Nov. 6, with Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman; Charlie Ayco, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Philippines; and Mayor Augusto Corro of Daanbantayan leading the ceremony.

Representatives from local authorities, French Red Cross, France-Philippines United Actions and French companies will also be present.

The village is a unique project and the first fully developed resettlement site for typhoon survivors in the Philippines.

The 128 30-square-meter housing units come with a bathroom and latrine, including septic tank, and a decentralized treatment system for grey and used waters that make released waters harmless to the environment.

Energy is provided through a 33kW Photovoltaic Power Plant installed through the efforts of the Red Cross and Electricians Without Borders, a French non-government organization, allowing all households to access electricity at a half price.

The solar power plant also provides public lighting and electricity for the multi-purpose hall, day care center and barangay health center and the livelihood center.

“Better and safer housing is key to recovery but it is only by providing proper water sanitation and energy access and making sure that people have access to livelihoods that we support their long term resilience,” said Gordon. “What makes this project so unique is that we thought from the beginning that walls are not enough to rebuild a life.”

Livelihood programs

The site is located some 200 meters from the sea, close to the farming areas and the main barangay road.

The beneficiaries may either keep their livelihoods or develop new ones with the support of the Red Cross.

“Majority of beneficiaries will keep their livelihoods, and Red Cross has been working with farmers and fishermen in the barangay to help them increase their income, by training 14 individuals and supporting local associations,” said Gordon.

“We have also seen people, who benefitted from Red Cross cash grants last year, already taking the opportunity to set up new businesses they can move to the Red Cross village,” he added.

Ray Lederos, a 31-year-old farmer, used the Red Cross cash grant to start a barbershop.

“It is a livelihood that I can bring with me when I move in to the Red Cross village. I will be the only barber there. The 750 inhabitants are likely to visit my shop rather than spending money for transport to go to town. And with a livelihood I can call my own, I don’t have to rely on anyone ever again,” he said.

The livelihood center, a first of its kind and run by a local association of users, offers services, such as battery charging, refrigerators, computers, and allows farmers and fishermens’ associations to process food in the premises.

The new barangay health station and day care center, which was built through the donation of Sanofi Foundation, will also cater for the 3,124 population of the barangay.

143 Team

To ensure that the community is better prepared for future disasters, the Philippine Red Cross will be storing equipment for preparedness and response in the “143 Team” room of the multi-purpose center.

All 128 beneficiary families were selected from a participative process, including transparent criteria, a barangay recovery committee and a local inter-agencies committee to prevent tensions from arising in the community.

The PRC will provide the beneficiaries with a usufruct on the housing units for 50 years, following the usufruct agreement on the 1,300 hectares piece of land endorsed by the Municipality of Daanbantayan.

The P62-million project was implemented with the support of the French Red Cross, and in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Philippines and France-Philippines United Action.

The project was made possible through the donations from French companies, such as Total, Sanofi and Caisse des Dépôts as well as the French public generosity.

Since Yolanda devastated the region, the Philippine Red Cross, together with French Red Cross, has been working in shelter, disaster risk reduction and livelihood in northern Cebu as part of its typhoon recovery effort.

The project is part of the Philippine Red Cross’s three-year 360-million-dollar recovery plan for 500,000 people in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Leyte, Eastern and Western Samar, Cebu, Panay and Palawan islands.

The Philippine Red Cross and partners have already built or assisted in repairing 80 percent of the targeted 80,347 shelters.

“Recovery is well under way, but there are still humanitarian needs on the ground. We are working across 762 communities (barangays) to ensure people get the support they need to fully rebuild their live” said Gordon.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 04, 2015.