Baybay City provides quickest response & recovery

In less than one (1) year from the disaster, most of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the City of Baybay are now living in the shelters constructed for them by the Local Government Unit (LGU) in partnership with the national government agencies with funding from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with funding from the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID).

During his message, Baybay City Mayor Hon. Jose Carlos L. Cari thanked the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Baybay, headed by Vice Mayor Atty. Ernesto M. Butawan, for providing funds either to purchase or to rent the land where the housing units were constructed. He also thanked the Baybayanons who allowed the construction of the transitional shelters of the IDPs for free.

It could be recalled that landslides were reported in seven (7) barangays of the City of Baybay due to typhoon Agaton on April 10, 2022. These include Barangays Kantagnos, Mailhi, Bunga, Maypatag, Kan-ipa, Villa Mag-aso, and Kagumay.

Based on the report of City Social Welfare and Development Officer Dr. Manuel Icon Donaire, 156 households were displaced in Barangay Kantagnos, 268 in Barangay Mailhi, 14 in Barangay Bunga, 36 in Barangay Maypatag, 3 in Barangay Kan-ipa, and 102 in Barangay Villa Mag-aso.

The first forty (40) permanent houses constructed by the Baybay City LGU in Barangay Higulo-an was handed over to the vulnerable households of Barangay Mailhi on March 8, 2023. And according to Mayor Cari, “I have already signed a contract for the additional housing units. We preferred to construct permanent structures because it is more cost effective compared to that of the temporary structures.”

The IOM, on the other hand, has constructed 155 transitional shelters for the displaced residents of Barangay Mailhi.  These are located at the temporary resettlement area in Barangay Kambonggan of this city, and in some private lots which were allowed to be used for the construction of their transitional houses for humanitarian reason. It is worth note-taking that the temporary resettlement area was rented by the Baybay City LGU for five (5) years from the Calungsod Family.

The rest (73 households), according to Dr. Donaire either did not stay at the Evacuation Center, thus were not given priority, or they did not pass the assessment of the IOM personnel because they have the capacity to put up their own house.

Dr. Donaire also revealed that in July 15, 2022, the first 40 temporary shelters constructed thru the concerted efforts of the Baybay City LGU, Philippine Army, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, and the residents of Barangay Kantagnos were turned over to the first 40 vulnerable families of the said barangay. The IOM also constructed 69 transitional shelters for the IDPs in Barangay Kantagnos, while the others constructed shanties around the temporary resettlement area in Barangay Maganhan while waiting for the completion of the additional 32 temporary housing units funded by the OCD.

The IOM also constructed transitional shelters for 13 IDPs in Barangay Bunga, 26 IDPs in Barangay Maypatag, and 92 in Barangay Villa Mag-aso. The rest of the IDPs were disqualified from the program either because they did not stay in the Evacuation Center or they have the capacity to build their own house, based on the assessment of the IOM people.

During his message, Mayor Cari said that things happen for a reason and that the survivors of Tropical Storm (TS) Agaton must go on with their lives and be thankful with what they have. He added that they must learn to live harmoniously with each other and work together towards the improvement of their abode. However, he promised that the Baybay City LGU will provide amenities that will make their lives easier such as the pathways, connection of utilities like light and water, and the needed outpost. (Marissa Miguel Cano, City Information Officer, Baybay City, Leyte)