Some quake-hit families in Davao del Sur still in tents after nearly 3 years

Chrislen Bulosan

Posted at Jul 22 2022 05:05 AM | Updated as of Jul 22 2022 05:31 AM

Some quake-hit families in Davao del Sur still in tents after nearly 3 years 1
Some quake-hit families in Davao del Sur still in tents after nearly 3 years 2

Evacuees in Matanao, Davao del Sur still live in makeshift tents nearly 3 years after an earthquake destroyed their homes. Hernel Tocmo

Evacuees in Matanao, Davao del Sur still live in makeshift tents nearly 3 years after an earthquake destroyed their homes. Hernel Tocmo

MATANAO, Davao del Sur — Aileen Pasion, a mother of 4 children, has been trying to fit her family inside a makeshift tent for nearly three years after an earthquake hit this town in 2019 and destroyed her house.

The tight space Pasion's family has been living in is a torn tarp serving as a roof, which fails to shelter them properly during rainy days and protect them from scorching heat.

“Every time the rain pours, my kids will get sick. The water leaks from the tent,” Pasion told ABS-CBN News.

The 6.9-magnitude quake that hit Matanao caused severe damage and multiple aftershocks.

More than a hundred families including Pasion's were displaced, with most of the survivors back in their damaged houses. Some moved to different towns.

But about 20 families still remain at the evacuation site, where they feel safer, as the trauma remains.

“God forbid, when an earthquake hits again, our house is built on cement. It’s hard to risk,” Benjamin Tasyo, another evacuee said. 

“And a child almost died when a roof collapsed."

For almost a year, victims relied on the LGU and other sectors for aid until the pandemic happened.

Residents said they were promised housing since 2020, but no construction was allegedly been seen in the 4.3-hectare relocation site bought by the provincial government.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) XI said the entire project costs P45.7 million. While the plan, including the structural design of the project was laid out and proposed already, funds are not sufficient.

“Hiningi namin ang pondo sa (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council). Nagbigay ng data ... Wala talagang pondo. Siguro due to our pandemic ngayon na-divert siya. Anyway, with regards sa funding, pinasok natin sa 2023,” NHA XI regional manager Clement Dayot said.

The budget will come from NDRRMC. The NHA’s role is on the product itself only. 

The LGU, on the other hand, will have to coordinate with these offices regarding the number of qualified beneficiaries. 

The NHA said it is “ready” to start the project as soon as the funds are sent to its office.

Housing projects in seven different towns in the province are still pending, due to the same reason.

However, the construction of housing for the quake-hit families in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur, has started as it received funding already. 

The evacuees may still have to wait for more or less a year before they see progress on the long-overdue promise of a decent and safer place to live.

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