One year ago, on November 8, the Philippines was hit by super typhoon Haiyan. During the commemorative week in Guiuan, the city where Haiyan entered the country, Cordaid’s typhoon proof model house turned out to be the main event. Even president Benigno Aquino was impressed.
Cordaid proudly supported the week-long commemoration that was dubbed An Pagkamarig-on han mga Guiuananon, or The Resilience of the people from Guiuan. Cordaid’s model house, built in less than 2 weeks by carpenters from the village Ngolos, will remain in the town plaza for a month.
Building back better
The house showcases the work Cordaid is doing in villages in Guiuan as well as in Coron, where we assist communities who had lost their houses after Haiyan to ‘build back better’. Juan Miguel Torres from Cordaid in The Philippines: “President Aquino and his team spent quite some time in the model house and I can say that he was impressed.”
President Aquino visits the model house.
Harma Rademaker, Cordaid program manager, says it’s great to see that the work of communities in Guiuan and our Cordaid team was highlighted during the commemorative week in Guiuan. “The trained carpenters, all the other people from Ngolos and our local Cordaid team do a fantastic job.”
Be your own builder
In Guiuan and Coron Cordaid is reducing the vulnerability of communities to natural disasters in a unique way, explains Rademaker. “To break the disaster cycle communities themselves need to be involved in their own recovery programs. That’s why together with our architects and engineers, people whose houses were destroyed or damaged by Haiyan design their own house according to their needs and wishes. After the design is approved by all parties, future tenants receive a first payment to buy building material. After a quality check by Cordaid they contract their own local carpenters and builders, many of whom were trained by Cordaid.”
Trained carpenter in Ngolos.
Citizens thus become the designers, contractors and sometimes builders themselves, assisted by professional architects and engineers. Rademakers: “There’s way to describe how proud and strong it makes them feel. Especially as these houses aren’t the usual temporary structures that are often built after disaster strikes.”
Securing land rights asnd tenure
The new houses are permanent, meant to stay for 20 to 30 years. This means that families can build a future. The more so, because in Guiuan Cordaid works in partnership with a notary to assist people in getting their land right documents and secure their land rights or tenure for at least 20 years.”
In the morning of November 8, just hours after the commemorative program in Guiuan Town Plaza, Cordaid organized the first official hand-over ceremonies for the 38 new houses that were completed in the village of Ngolos. After Bishop Vasquez of Borongan blessed the new homes, the new owners were handed over their tenure certificates.
Bishop Vasquez blesses the new houses.
The day ended with a festive gathering of the Ngolos community, the Cordaid team and the Diocese Social Action Center.
New owners sign their tenure certificates.
Read more about Cordaid’s programs in The Philippines. And about how Cordaid and Miss Universe have joined hands to help the Philippines.