It was early on November 8, 2013 that the coastal municipality of Isabel, Leyte, met Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“Around 7:00 am of November 8, we began sensing Yolanda’s winds,” Pjac A. Miralles remembers. “Then from 8:00 to 9:30 am, there was zero visibility. It was only when it subsided that we could go outside, and it was then that we saw the extent of the damage – uprooted trees, posts, and houses without roofs.”
Neaby, Mayor Marcos Gregorio M. Cerillo watched as the roofing of the civic center was first torn, then blown away, piece by piece. Sections of the building later collapsed.
“We were using the civic center as an evacuation center for our indigenous people,” he explains. “Fortunately, we advised them to transfer to the nearby parish hall before the civic center collapsed.”
The nearby public market also sustained damage, affecting the vendors in varied ways. Edmund M. Sillar, a local vendor, wasn’t able to secure all his products before the typhoon’s arrival. “We were informed about the typhoon and were advised by the LGU to prepare, but we underestimated it.
“So many goods in the market were damaged and stolen.”
Post-Yolanda, a slow yet steady recovery
The civic center has since been repaired. For Pjac, the return of the basketball league is a clear sign that life is returning to normal. “Our league is back, and the community can again use the center for school events, private sector activities, and seminars conducted by the LGU,” he explains.
The local market, too, has since been rehabilitated, with overhead canopy protecting both vendors and customers from the sun and rain.
Most importantly, vendors feel safer. “We really learned a lot from Yolanda,” Edmund explains. “Though we are now scared of typhoons, we do not take all the warnings for granted.”
For Mayor Marcos, support from RAY DILG funds have contributed significantly to the municipality’s broader recovery efforts. “Without the help of the national government, our three facilities will not be repaired, since we had already allotted our budget for the other priorities of the LGU.”