“Among the municipalities struck by Yolanda in Eastern Samar, Quinapondan was still lucky because it incurred minimal damage, when compared to our neighboring municipalities,” Mayor Nedito A. Campo remembers.
Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado hands over a check amounting to P500,000 to Mayor Nedito Campo of Quinapondan, Eastern Samar to help local typhoon victims – March 14, 2014. Courtesy: Bulacan.gov.ph.
Yet despite the minimal physical damage, the Mayor explains, local survivors experienced a kind of damage that proves invisible at first glance.
“The Yolanda experience was an eye opener for everyone,” Mayor added. “During the typhoon, in our municipal hall, there was total chaos.”
“Truthfully, afterwards, almost everyone in the town was demoralized,” he says.
At the Quinapondan local market, vendors returned to view the destruction. For some, like Susan B. Gonzaga, this would make for some necessary improvisation. “With the roll-up door to our stall damaged, we had to hammer it down, open it, then hammer it down again each night, before re-opening it again the next morning. It was very tiring, but we had to sacrifice just to ensure that our products are secured at night,” she explains.
As post-disaster recovery projects got underway, officials faced additional challenges. “Our challenge was the availability of construction materials,” Mayor Nedito says. “It was really hard to find these, post-Yolanda. As demand went up, so did prices: as the closest licensed lumber dealers are in Tacloban City and Guiuan, we had few available materials to work with.”
With support from RAY DILG, “the moment the fund was downloaded to us, after having complied with procedural requirements, we started implementing the projects,” the Mayor added.
‘A morale boost’
“After our municipal hall was repaired, it was a morale booster to our Yolanda victims, including our barangay officials,” the Mayor believes. “They saw that the government is helping us to recover.”
Likewise, at the local market, vendors are back in business. “It is a morale booster to them (the vendors and customers), also,” the Mayor adds.
“Yes, it was very difficult after the typhoon,” Susan says. “Yet now that the market has been repaired, and our roll-up door fixed, I am very much at ease. I don’t need to worry anymore when we close our stall at night.”