“In our municipal hall, after Yolanda, everything stopped,” Zaldy B. Bitbit, the local municipal engineer, explains. “We had to cease operations since almost everything was damaged – the roof, ceilings, flooring, doors and windows.”

Zaldy B. Bibit - Pontevedra (1) - Municipal Engineer
Pontevedra Municipal Engineer Zaldy B. Bitbit

Immediately following the disaster, the LGU repaired some of the damage to ensure that basic services could be resumed. Later, the municipality received funding from both the DILG and DPWH for remaining repairs, including that of the extensively damaged session hall.

Neither was the local civic center spared by Super Typhoon Yolanda. With support from RAY DILG funds, new steel frames were installed, along with roofing, new air-vents, and a repaired roll-up door for easy public access. As Rowena O. Villas, a local DSWD community welfare assistant explains, it is perhaps one of the most significant venues in the municipality: an important gathering point for young and old alike.

Rowena O. Villas - Community Welfare Assistant - Pontevedra
DSWD community welfare assistant Rowena O. Villas

“This is the biggest facility in Pontevedra, so it’s used by almost everyone for sports, cultural and school activities,” she says.

In Pontevedra, as with many Yolanda-affected communities, the continued functioning of the local civic center is vital to ensuring continued delivery of public services. “This is where we conduct seminars for beneficiaries from across the entire municipality, including the 4Ps program,” she explains.

‘Not just repaired, but improved’

Nearby in Pontevedra Public Market, Erlie B. Dadivas is busy, selling locally-grown rice among the aisles filled with vendors. The spacious dry-foods section, clearly marked with the names, locations and produce available at each stall, is a marked improvement on the space once occupied by these same vendors, before Yolanda.

Erlie B. Dadivas - Vendor - Pontevedras (II)
Pontevedra market vendor Erlie B. Dadivas

“The old market wasn’t sturdy, and when it rained, it was difficult to secure and protect all our items properly,” Erlie says. “So when Yolanda happened, our stalls – and goods – were destroyed. We had to start again, from scratch.”

With support from RAY DILG funds, the market was repaired.

“It wasn’t just repaired to its previous state, but was improved a lot,” Erlie explains. “I can say that I speak on behalf of all the rice vendors here, when I say that our market is more stable. The stalls aren’t so congested anymore. We don’t need to stress or worry when it rains, as the roof is resilient, and my products are protected.”


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