The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu, through its social action arm Cebu Caritas Inc., turned over 150 houses to families in Boljoon who lost their homes during Typhoon Odette. The turnover was held last February 14.
The Archdiocese turned over 100 Core Progressive Shelters in Sitio Kalumboyan, Barangay Granada, Boljoon, Cebu to selected beneficiaries.
“During typhoon Odette, many of us living near the river lost our homes. But because of your love and kindness, we are very blessed for this opportunity and project. This house which you have given us is really beautiful. So we thank Caritas Philippines, Caritas Internationalis and Cebu Caritas,” said Amelyn Mendez, one of the beneficiaries of 100 Core Progressive Shelters.
It also turned over 35 On-site Core Transitional Shelters to beneficiaries in five mountain barangays in Boljoon, Cebu on the same occasion. Tacion Neri, one of the beneficiaries of the on-site shelters in Barangay Nangka, said, “Behind our struggles, Caritas is there to help us.”
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Ruben Labajo presided over the Holy Mass and led the blessing of the core shelters together with Caritas Philippines Executive Director Fr. Antonio Labiao, Jr., Cebu Caritas President Fr. Alex Cola, Jr., and other visiting priests.
In his homily, Bishop Labajo said “This Valentine’s day, it is more than a flower or rose you received, you received a house, you received a home and a community.” He added, “We thank God for showing us concretely his goodness and love through these shelters.”
Distribution of certificates and a symbolic turnover of shelter keys were also done after the blessing.
On behalf of the LGU, Boljoon Mayor Joie Genesse Derama expressed his gratitude to the Catholic Church through its social action arms (Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Philippines and Cebu Caritas) for choosing their municipality as beneficiary of the shelter project.
In his message, Caritas Philippines Executive Director Fr. Labiao said, “Congratulations to all! We are very grateful to you. We would like to thank you for this tripartite project among the Church, LGU and beneficiaries. Mas makahulugan ito dahil ikaw ay bahagi ng paggawa. We do not only see here houses but hopefully in the future a chapel and a resilient community. With this, we can face any disaster because ‘kaya natin’.”
Caritas Philippines, a member of Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis, is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.
Because frequent natural disasters in the Philippines have devastating consequences on both the physical and mental wellness of Filipinos, it is imperative that affordable, sustainable and adequate (core) shelter be made available to those in need.
The housing project dubbed “Balay Caritas: Puloy-anan sa Gugma ug Paglaum” is part of the rehabilitation phase of the typhoon Odette Response of Cebu Caritas. This effort is co-funded by Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Philippines and other partner organizations.
Cebu Caritas President Fr. Alex Cola, Jr. said “This project is not only the work of Cebu Caritas. This is a collaborative effort.”