Mayor Matt of Bingawan remembers shared that immediately after seeing the widespread devastation, he initially felt depressed and frustrated. On the long road to recovery, where would they begin?
Before Super Typhoon struck Bingawan in 2013, they also experienced a strong typhoon – Typhoon Quinta – in 2012. “Maybe it is really a result of climate change. It was two years consecutive for us, Quinta and Yolanda,” Mayor Matt P. Palabrica suggested.
Yet few could have prepared entirely for the destruction wrought by the super typhoon.
The municipal hall – built in 1976 – was damaged, with the winds breaking windows and stripping off sections of the roof.
Bingawan Civic Center
Neither was the civic center spared by Super Typhoon Yolanda, with only the central part of the main structure surviving the gale-force winds.
For high school students Lorly Mei Pedroso and Sean Jahlel Ceralvo, who use the facility for the volleyball practice and competitions, it was an especially saddening turn of events. As the civic center is only sports venue in town, they had no choice but to keep using it for practice: taking extra precautions to avoid injuring themselves or others.
The RAY DILG fund then provided for the repair of the civic center. “It was a great help because we can already use the center even on rainy days,” Sean says. “We don’t need to cancel our practice, and can even extend our sessions well into the evening. A screen was also installed on both sides, while before we had to chase the ball in from outside the gym,” he explained.
Both structures are more resilient, and are more likely to withstand future calamities. The civic center, for example, once below plaza level, had been prone to floods during rainy season. RAY funds were then used to raise the concrete flooring for better flood prevention. The roof trusses, made with stronger and more resilient materials, are estimated to withstand winds of up to 400 k/ph.
RAY funds: unexpected, but welcome
Meanwhile, Mayor Matt shared that in his view, the RAY funds were a welcome, if somewhat unexpected addition to those local funds directed towards post-Yolanda recovery.
“It was a miracle for the municipality – we did not expect it,” the Mayor remembers.
“We did not expect the funding assistance because our municipality is considered as the poorest LGU in the province. In terms of votes, ours doesn’t have a big impact. It’s why we did not expect for any assistance from the national government.”
“But the current administration proved us wrong,” he says. “They helped us and took care of us. In fact in Region VI, we got a big amount for RAY (Batch) 1 projects alone.”
“We had previously applied for a loan because we want to improve the building. But once the RAY assistance was provided to us, we could repair what was damaged, then allocate additional modifications from LGU funds.”