100 houses soon to rise for Albay’s typhoon victims

By Cet Dematera


LEGAZPI CITY--- Some 100 housing units will be built inside a relocation site in Guinobatan town after the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo has approved the project construction on Monday, Dec. 7, Mayor Ann Gemma Onghoco said.


This came after Robredo, who is from Naga City, Camarines Sur, visited the barangays where houses were either totally destroyed by the past typhoons that hit Bicol or buried in mud and boulders by lahar-carrying rampaging floods from Mayon Volcano.


More than 150 families were rendered homeless in Guinobatan by Typhoons “Quinta,” “Rolly” and “Ulysses” when the storms battered Albay and the adjacent Bicol provinces on Oct. 25, Nov.1 and Nov.5, respectively.


During Robredo’s visit in Guinobatan, the town where five people were buried in lahar when super Typhoon “Rolly” unleashed torrential rains, the Vice President even batted for the construction of stronger or sturdier evacuation centers that could withstand stronger typhoons.


Onghoco expressed her gratitude to Robredo for allotting budget for the housing units.


“We are really very grateful to VP Leni for giving us immediate assistance through these housing units that would also decongest our evacuation centers in Guinobatan. We already signed the necessary documents on Monday for the project to start construction works soon,” she said.


Onghoco said that the houses will be inside the Guinobatan LGU-run evacuation center in Barangay Mauraro.


She said that the pre-identified beneficiaries had already drawn lots of what housing unit a family will occupy once these shelters are ready for occupancy.


“Through this scheme (drawing of lots), we will avoid suspicions of playing favorite in awarding the housing units. A family will occupy the house with the assigned number that they get during the drawing of lots,” Onghoco said.


Earlier the Provincial Board of Albay has already allotted P36-million to buy a 14-hectare land in Barangay Bobolosan in Guinobatan as relocation site for the typhoon and lahar-displaced families in the town.


Both the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) have strongly recommended the relocation of all the residents in the danger zone and high-risk areas around Mayon Volcano based on the latest lahar mapping released by Phivolcs in Albay province.