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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, November 8, 2012
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Shelter turnover Nov. 19

The first phase of a housing project for victims of tropical storm “Sendong” in Dumaguete is about to be finished, with only six units left before the turnover of 30 units this month.

Fr. Burton Villarmente, director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Dumaguete, said 28 of the initial 58 units funded by the Catholic Church, in cooperation with Dumaguete City, had been turned over June and August recipients, whose houses were destroyed in December 2011.

The other 30 houses are expected to be blessed and turned over to another batch of beneficiaries, on Nov. 19, before the city fiesta and charter day anniversary on Nov. 24 and 25, he added.

Rev. Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila and head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action, has been invited to attend the blessing and turnover at the Caritas Village Shelter site in Brgy. Bajumpandan, Dumaguete.

The housing project is the first to be built for Sendong victims in Dumaguete and has been lauded as a successful model in church-government partnership, he added.

The Church also appealed to the city government to follow through with its promise to provide at least one hectare of land for the second phase of the project, that entails the construction of 92 additional housing units for victims of “Sendong”.

Villarmente said the city should act promptly as the diocese stands to lose the funds for it if the timeline is not met.

Under the agreement, the city government will provide the land as counterpart for the project, while the Church will subsidize the construction of the houses.

Dumaguete Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria had repeatedly assured the Church that the city will look for a lot for the project. However, it is still not known where the next relocation site will be, Villarmente said.

He said he hopes the city will allocate a portion of the 10-hectare property it is buying in Brgy. Banilad, for a housing project with the National Housing Authority and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Sagarbarria had earlier announced that he already received 30 percent of the project cost, or P6 million, from the NHA. Total project cost is pegged at P237 million with the NHA paying for the land, and the DSWD providing P70 million for about 300 duplex-type housing units to be constructed, also for the typhoon victims.*JFP

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