By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday returned to war-stricken Marawi City five months after the 60 transitional houses under her Angat Buhay project were built for the families displaced by the siege.
Robredo graced the turn over of Angat Buhay Village in Sagonsongan, where she met some of the beneficiary families of the temporary houses.
The Vice President met with the recipients of the transitional shelters not only to listen to their stories but also to determine how her office can help them after relocation.
Jobs and livelihood
“Iyong pinaka-concern na talaga hanapbuhay (The main concern is really their jobs),” she said in an interview in Marawi, a transcript of which was released by her office.
“Iyong nare-receive nila paunti-unti lang, kasi wala masyadong opportunities. Marami sa kanila umaasa pa din sa relief sa kanilang kakainin,” Robredo added.
(They are receiving assistance little by little because there are not enough opportunities. Many of them still depend on the relief for their food.)
The Vice President led the turn over of the completed housing units that would host the displaced families, along with Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra and Xavier University President Father Bobby Yap.
Angat Buhay Village is a joint project of the Office of the Vice President, the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, and the Marawi City government.
Apart from the temporary houses, the village has a roving toy library and other amenities.
According to Robredo, her office will link the families with its private partners that can provide them livelihood.
Gandamra said there is a market that is being built for those who will move into the houses in the village.
“Mas mabuti sana kung ano iyong kinasanayan tapos mayroon pa ding market para doon. Doon na lang siya tulungan (It would better they would be familiar with what would be provided to them then they will have a market for that. Help them that way),” said Robredo.
“Parang mahirap na kami iyong magsasabi na, ‘Ito iyong gawin mo,’ pero hindi naman niya iyan alam, o hindi naman iyon iyong kinasanayan niya. Baka mas mahirapan siya,” she added.
(It looks hard that it would be us telling them ‘you do this,’ but they don’t know it or not used doing it. This may be more difficult for them.)
Gandamra said the government can only build at least 4,000 to 5,000 houses in Marawi City or less than half for the 14,000 internally displaced families affected by the war.
“Marami dito na hindi pa sila nabibigyan at pumunta lang sila dito para makiusap na sila din maprioritize na,” the Vice President said.
(Many of them here are not yet given their houses and they went here to appeal that they should also be prioritized.)