On November 10, 2015, a total of thirty-six (36) families were transferred to the Ridgeview Park I, one of the National Housing Authority (NHA) resettlement projects in Tacloban City. These families were from the IPI Bunkhouse in Barangay Caibaan, which housed a total of 423 families. The City Government of Tacloban, through the City Housing and Community Development Office (CHCDO), has provided transportation for the transfer of the said families.

According to the October 2015 report of NHA, 540 out of 1,000 units have been completed in Ridgeview Park I while the construction of the remaining units is still ongoing. Bernadeth Amarilla, one of the beneficiaries, said: “Dako gud ini nga grasya ha akun bug-os nga pamilya nga nakabalhin na kami nganhi ini nga bag-o nga balay labi na kay bag-o la ako nga kasal yana nga tuig. Dako gud it akon pasalamat ha Ginoo.”(As a family, we feel like we have been very blessed this year because now we have officially moved in to our new house after I got married earlier this year.)

She added that they were part of the first batch to be raffled in December 2014. They have been wanting to transfer because in the bunkhouse, there is a constant threat of strong winds brought by typhoons and poor sanitation.

Amarilla said that one of the concerns in the Ridgeview Park is the lack of permanent water supply and electricity. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Government of Nigeria, has provided temporary to medium-term water supply in lieu of the permanent water supply that will later be administered by Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). They have provided water tanks and have drilled for ground water which to be put into a filtration system for domestic and drinking use. As per DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, electricity will be installed in the resettlement sites before Christmas by the Leyte Electric Cooperative (LEYECO).

Some families from the IPI Bunkhouse who were assigned with their units have transferred early this year without authorization from the NHA and the City because they feared that they might be in danger in the bunkhouses. A typhoon may damage their units since these are made out of light materials only. At present, these families have already been documented as occupants of Ridgeview by NHA and the City Housing.

According to DSWD VIII Regional Director Nestor Ramos, they are still finalizing the schedule of transfer of families for other resettlement sites like the Villa Diana in Kawayan and Villa Sofia in Tagpuro. They will closely coordinate with the CHCDO of Tacloban and announce the schedule for the next transfer as soon as it is set.

Ruel T. Bugnos, YPMO, NEDA VIII