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For the 306 families from Tacloban City who suffered the brunt of Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ when it struck almost three years ago, having a new home is heaven sent.

Since March 29, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Housing Authority (NHA), and the local government unit (LGU) of Tacloban City have been moving families from the three bunkhouses located in IPI, Abucay, and NHA compound to the permanent relocation site in Ridgeview Park 1. The houses were built by NHA.

The 306 families comprised the first batch that were transferred.  The three agencies hope to finish transferring the remaining 491 families within this month.

To help the families in their new homes, DSWD-Field Office VIII provided them with Pabaon Packs that consisted of 25-kilos of rice, plastic mats, mosquito nets, blankets, and cooking pots.

The families expressed their joy for having new and safe homes and were excited to share their plans.

Gina, 45, married with five children related her plans to engage in buy and sell of baked products.

Another beneficiary, Mana Tale Penaranda, said that she would plant okra, ampalaya, string beans and malunggay in her backyard garden as a source of food and extra income. She expressed her appreciation for her new house saying that it is well-ventilated with high ceilings.

Likewise, couple Rodrigo and Michelle Cannecer narrated that they will set up a sari-sari store as their extra source of income.

Michelle is also thankful for her family’s new home saying, “Malipay kami nga after three years may balay na kami, salamat hin madamo  (We are happy that after three years, we already have a house, thank you so much).”

Even the children are happy to have transferred to their new community.

Princess Michaela Cinco and Annjannes Separa, 12 and 13, respectively, excitedly exclaimed that Ridgeview Park is far better than the IPI bunkhouse where they stayed for two years.

“Diri na malubak it karsada, sementado na. Diri na kahoy it am balay, semento na gihap (The roads are cemented, not bumpy or rocky. Our houses are concrete).”

Edgar Salentes and wife, Rutchie, proudly showed their newly-opened sari-sari store and said, “Ginpalago gud namon an kwarta nga ginhatag ha amon han gobyerno ngan mga NGOs. Parag-pedicab la ako ngan an akon padis nag-skills training man hin cooking. An iba nga cash nga panhatag, amon gin capital hini nga sari-sari store  (We have invested here the amount given to us by the government and the NGOs. I am a pedicab driver and my wife was one of those trained in cooking. We used some of the cash given to us as capital for this sari-sari store).”

The residents said that the memories of the devastation that ‘Yolanda’ brought to their lives remains but they have to move on.

“For ‘Yolanda’-affected families, starting a new life is neither easy nor fast, but  with determination, perseverance, and hard work, they now have a chance for a better life in their new homes,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stated.