SM, donors turn over biggest housing village to Yolanda survivors
For 64-year-old pedicab driver Rogelio Palma Consalida, Nov. 8, 2013 is a date he will never forget for the rest of his life.
It was when Supertyphoon Yolanda made landfall in his hometown of Tacloban City, Leyte and in just an hour took away all the possessions which had taken him several decades to acquire.
“Nawala sa amin ang lahat (We lost everything),” he declared.
For more than two years, he and his wife Lolita, 64, had to live in a cramped government housing site.
But life seems brighter for them once more as the couple is among the 400 family-beneficiaries of SM Supermalls’ biggest SM Cares Village for Yolanda survivors.
SM and its donors awarded 400 new houses in Tacloban City, Leyte to selected beneficiary-families.
The village will be called “Pope Francis-CFC ANCOP Canada Community – SM Cares Village.” It is the biggest of all the four SM Cares housing projects as the other villages have only 200 houses each.
The first village in Bogo, Cebu has been turned over to beneficiaries in November 2014 while the second village in Iloilo City was inaugurated in October 2015. The fourth and last village in Ormoc City is undergoing construction and will be turned over in July this year.
The SM Cares Village in Barangay New Kawayan, Tacloban is the third batch in the 1,000-units SM Cares Village housing project which was launched in the aftermath of Yolanda in 2013.
SM Prime officials headed by its president Hans Sy led the turnover ceremony. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and other city officials were also in attendance.
Guests who attended the event included Leyte Archbishop John Du, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder, Yedda Romualdez (representing Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez), Ricky Cuenca and Jimmy Ilagan of Couples for Christ-ANCOP, Mikee Romero of GlobalPort and Julian Payne of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The SM Cares Village has amenities such a basketball court, street lamps, sewage treatment plant, materials recovery facility, rain-catchment system and provisions for water and electricity.
SM Cares, a division of SM Foundation and the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc., launched the housing project shortly after the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013 to give permanent and disaster-resilient houses to survivors of the typhoon in the Visayas region.
Through its tenants, business partners, service providers, employees and local communities, SM was able to raise the money needed to build 1,000 houses. Some of the donors for the SM Cares Village in Tacloban include Zonta Club, Duty Free Philippines, Forever 21, ANCOP, New Golden City Builders and Development and Philippine Daily Inquirer. GlobalPort and Sultan 900 donated the basketball court.
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