As a flood-prone agricultural municipality situated on the Panay River, the people of Dao know the benefits -as well as the possible damage, and the dangers – that water can bring.
Yet the sheer magnitude of Super Typhoon Yolanda was another experience entirely, wrecking destruction across the community, including the local public market and civic center.
“The community here in Dao is very dependent on our infrastructure,” explains Joselito Y. Escutin, Dao’s Municipal Mayor.
Dao Public Market
During Yolanda, the roof of the local public market was almost totally destroyed. For Connie C. Sy, a market vendor for six years, it made for an especially difficult period. In her stall where she sells ready-to-wear clothes, slippers and shoes, it was hard to display merchandise without a roof above their heads. Despite tarpaulins serving as temporary roofing, she would struggle to protect her valuable wares from further damage.
Dao Civic Center
Elsewhere, for Michael B. Lozada, a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) official, times were also challenging. In the weeks after the disaster, the civic center, where he usually works had experienced such extensive damage that he and his colleagues had to be moved to an alternative facility.
There, Michael dealt daily with local citizens who themselves faced a range of post-disaster relief challenges. Tasked with the release of over-the-counter payments for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the temporary facility – an open-air space – it proved especially difficult to manage the needs of beneficiaries. Many complained at having to endure the soarching heat of the sun or the pouring rain-challenges faced by officials and citizens alike.
“1,000 happy people”
For Mayor Escutin, the RAY DILG funding was a welcome, if at first unexpected, support to the recovery effort in Dao.
Mayor Escutin had expected that the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) would be allotted for the initial repair of their civic center. Instead, enabled by RAY DILG funds, the facilities could be repaired all at once, rather than in a phase-by-phase approach.
“Yolanda was an eye-opener for us,” the Mayor concluded. “It has now become our baseline for our preparations for future typhoons.”
As a result, repairs were undertaken with greater resilience in mind. At the public market, new roofing – built with stronger trusses – were installed. Drainage improvement and repairs were then also made to the market’s police outpost. For vendors like Ms. Connie, these improvements allowed her to return to a safe and secure stall, to continue to earn money to support her family. She is pleased that her stall, and the whole market, is now comfortable for vendors and customers alike.
Finally, Michael and his team from DSWD are very thankful for having returned to their place of work, in the now-repaired civic center. “Not only we, the project implementors, are happy- all of our beneficiaries are happy as well,” he explained.
“We have almost 1,000 beneficiaries,” Michael says, smiling. “So now we have 1,000 happy people.”