BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Sipalay City, which is still reeling from the effects of super typhoon Odette, has yet to be fully energized, as recovery from the devastation may take three years, disclosed Mayor Gina Montilla-Lizares.
Lizares, who personally welcomed Vice President Leni Robredo during her visit on February 4 to the typhoon devastated area of Purok Lubi in Brgy. Gil Montilla, Sipalay City, said that 60 percent of the power has been restored in Sipalay City as of this time.
While they are doing well in the rehabilitation of Sipalay City, Lizares said it may take six months or maybe more, in terms of rebuilding of homes for 18,000 affected families.
We need more construction materials for destroyed and damaged houses, she added.
The death toll due to typhoon in Sipalay City was recorded at 18, with four still missing as of this time.
Robredo led the distribution of shelter repairs kits to indigent families in Sipalay City and Brgy. Mambugsay in Cauayan. A total of 250 indigent families were identified as beneficiaries of temporary shelter kits of the Office of the Vice President in Negros Occidental.
The temporary shelter kits given to beneficiaries in Negros Occidental is composed of materials needed for the construction of a house, to be built under a Bayanihan system.
The Office of the Vice President linked up with Negros Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation Inc., Tanging Yaman Foundation (TYFI), United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) – Buglas and CC Buencamino Architect- Architecture Planning Design in providing shelter repairs kits to 250 indigent families in Negros Occidental.
If the Office of the Vice President has more funds, Robredo said that she could deliver more temporary shelter kits, stressing that she is establishing linkages with the private sector and non-government organizations in order to immediately respond to the cry for help by the affected families.
Robredo admitted that the help extended by her office to the typhoon victims and other natural calamities mostly came from the private sector.
“You are our guardian angels here,” Robredo told representatives of various private organizations who joined her in Sipalay City.
Robredo, who visited the cities of Kabankalan and Himamaylan several days after typhoon struck the province, said the design of the house allows further development by the beneficiaries.
Lizares told VP Leni that the city government of Sipalay will increase their budget for the purchase of more construction materials for the affected residents, on top of livelihood assistance, including palay seeds for farmers, who will be helped in soil preparation of their respective rice fields.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental already started distributing P50 million worth of construction materials in Hinobaan, Sipalay City and Ilog, with Cauayan, Candoni and Kabankalan City next in the list.
Lizares also said that among the presidential candidates, only Robredo visited Sipalay after the typhoon. But she added that other presidential bets also sent food packs and financial assistance.
Robredo was also welcomed by Vice Mayor Anna Liza Soriano and former Gov. Rafael Coscolluela in Cauayan.*