By Raymund Antonio
The Office of the Vice President and its other partners are set to build more houses in a community of transition shelters in Marawi City for families whose houses were destroyed during the war.
Vice President Leni Robredo said she expects 40 more temporary houses to be built by year-end, five months after the Angat Buhay Village was opened for the displaced families.
“Ang target namin sunod, sana iyong 40 houses matapos by December (Our next target, I hope the 40 houses will be completed by December),” Robredo said in her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong Leni.
The lady official, however, noted the construction of the second batch of transitory shelters has yet to start because they are still in search of the land where these housing units would be built.
The village was built through the “Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni,” an online campaign that raised some P7.4 million for the Vice President initially intended to help her pay the balance of her electoral protest fee.
Each housing unit has a floor area of 24 square meters, a toilet, kitchen sink and a rainwater catchment. There are other amenities in the community that include toy library, playground, and a temporary learning space.
Robredo, a former housing chief, said the temporary shelters were built in a hectare of land donated by the family of Marawi Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra.
“Iyong MOA (memorandum of agreement) namin with the local government, na sila iyong magbibigay ng lupa (Our MOA with the local government is that they will provide the land),” she said.
The Vice President went to the war-torn city on July 17 for the opening of Angat Buhay Village in Barangay Sagonsongan, where she led the turnover of 60 houses to beneficiaries.
Robredo gave the symbolic key of the Angat Bugay Village to Gandamra, joined by Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan president Father Roberto Yap, SJ; and village residents.
The construction of the temporary shelters is a joint project of the OVP, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, and the Marawi city government.
Robredo talked to some of the beneficiaries While they were in their new houses who told her their experiences during the war and their stay in evacuation centers. They also asked for livelihood assistance to support their families.
“They are grateful they now have better houses compared to evacuation centers. But it’s still heartbreaking to hear the stories of each of them – how they used to live a good life before the conflict but they had to leave everything behind when they evacuated, and now they have to start all over again,” she said in Filipino.
“What we want is to help them somehow to relieve their suffering. We have many partners who are always ready to help the residents of Marawi,” added Robredo.