2K families in 3 Cebu cities get Odette aid

AROUND 2,000 families in the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Naga and Carcar whose houses were damaged by Typhoon Odette (Rai) received P10,000 in cash assistance each Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

The assistance, which was sourced from the Emergency Housing Program (Ehap) of the National Housing Authority (NHA), was first handed over to 1,000 affected families in Lapu-Lapu City on Friday morning.

After the activity in Lapu-Lapu City, NHA officials also conducted a distribution to 500 families living in the City of Naga and another 500 families living in Carcar City.

NHA General Manager Joeben Tai led the first leg of the aid distribution along with Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. and city officials led by Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City.

The program “provides quick response cash assistance to qualified low-income and marginalized families affected by natural or man-made calamities.”

Under this program, each beneficiary receives P10,000 to P30,000 in cash assistance depending on the damage to their house.

Tai said families with partially damaged houses would receive P5,000 to P15,000 while those with totally destroyed houses would receive about P15,000 to P30,000.

Tai said the local government units (LGU) provided them with the list of beneficiaries. The NHA also validated the list provided by the LGUs through pictures of damaged homes provided by the beneficiaries.

Typhoon victims who already received cash aid initially provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies were no longer entitled to the aid provided by the NHA, Tai added.

He said NHA already downloaded P160 million for 32,000 beneficiaries who received P5,000 each during the first tranche in Central Visayas right after Odette hit the region on Dec. 16, 2021.

Those receiving the cash aid on Friday were among those who didn’t receive the first tranche of assistance from NHA, Tai added.

For the second tranche, Tai said NHA is targeting to give P10,000 each to about 60,000 families in the entire island of Cebu, which he hopes to be completed by the first quarter in 2023.

Of the number, 27,599 more families in the cities of Carcar, Naga, and Lapu-Lapu will be given the assistance.

Engineer Dante Estrobo, officer-in-charge of NHA’s Cebu District Office, said the agency downloaded about P25 million for Lapu-Lapu City during the first tranche for 5,000 families whose houses were destroyed after Odette.

Estrobo assured that those who received the initial P5,000 will soon be given another P5,000 to be fair with those who received P10,000 in the second tranche.

Junard Abalos, head of Lapu-Lapu City’s Social Welfare and Services Office, said about 98,000 families were affected during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in Lapu-Lapu City.

Abalos said it was the Barangay Mayor’s Office (BMO) that helped identify the beneficiaries or victims in the city that had not yet received any assistance from the government.

But Abalos said they prioritized those families whose houses were destroyed after Odette.

Tai also asked beneficiaries who have yet to receive the aid from NHA to remain patient, stressing that they are fast-tracking the release of assistance.

“There’s a process po kasi, but under my administration, I’ve been barely four months into my office, I’m trying to finish and complete everything that we owe to our people,” he added.