|A damaged house in Malawig, Coron, Palawan after the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda.|
|A house that was beaten to the ground by strong winds brought by Yolanda is now starting to take shape as residents prioritize rebuilding their destroyed houses.|
|Clean streets. The island had slowly rebuilt its houses and streets from rubble and wreckage left by typhoon Yolanda.|
Three years ago, super typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc to a small island-barangay of Malawig in Coron, Palawan. Volunteers were desperately holding back their tears upon hearing the painful experience told by survivors.
In response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development distributed PHP2,750.00 of cash assistance to 186 households in Malawig that were completely damaged by Yolanda. The cash assistance was a pay-out to identified beneficiaries, who had reconstructed their own house within 10 days.
Robert Salva, 36, was one of the many people whose houses were washed away by the ocean. His wife and two children are temporarily living with his in-laws until he finishes the house he is rebuilding.
“Matapos yung bagyo, wala na kaming nabalikan na bahay, pero pinilit pa rin naming magtayo ng bago (After the typhoon passed, we were left without a house, but persisted to rebuild a new one),” said Salva as he recalled his experience.
The residents of Malawig feel indebted to various organizations that came and have been coming back to provide them aid and support. “Mabuti nga po at marami pa din tumutulong, kasi mahihirapan kaming makabangon kung wala kaming tulong na natatanggap (We are thankful for the outpour of assistance, we would have hard time recovering from this if not for all the support),” said Virginia Viscara, 42, one of the beneficiaries.
“Napakalaking tulong po ng halaga na naibahagi sa amin ngayon, kasi minsan kahit pako hindi kami makabili (The amount that was given to us is a huge help, because there are times when we could not even afford to buy nails [for construction),” said Senjen Capriano, 29, a resident who suffered the loss of his twin children.
Capriano added how his life has changed, and that most of his time is devoted to rebuilding his house and boat that were instantly smashed by Yolanda.
Today, there’s a glaring evidence of physical change in the island. Houses stand solidly beneath the piercing heat of the sun. Streets are clean, sari-sari stores and schools are open — rebuilt from the rubbles.
Three years ago, on the very island where survivors witnessed the devastation caused by Yolanda, sat a group of young children singing along the Celine Dion hit, “My Heart Will Go On”. Today, they are chattering along the hit song and belting the chorus with all their might. Malawig has gone a long way from Yolanda’s aftermath.