NoCot, UN agency launch rebuilding program for quake victims

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco and representatives from the United Nations Mindanao Humanitarian Team (UN MHT) on Tuesday launched the rebuilding program for internally displaced persons (IDP's) of North Cotabato.

In a festive ceremony, Catamco turned various assistance to 435 families of Barangay Ilomavis who were severely affected by last year's major earthquakes.

The village of Ilomavis is situated at the slope of the country's highest peak Mount Apo.

The governor awarded materials for building their temporary houses, cash and livelihood assistance, food packs, planting materials and farm inputs, medical assistance, scholarship certificates and school allowances to the displaced families.

"I assure you of the provincial government 's unwavering support to your desire of returning home and rebuild your lives, Catamco told quake affected families.

Catamco said the provincial government's rebuilding program was anchored on three pillars of commitment and understanding to meet salient needs under the context: "Adopt a family, to build a home; Adopt a School, to build a future and adopt a community to build a strong nation."

She said under this framework, the Provincial Rehabilitation Task Force, MHT and government line agencies converge and pool their resources to attend to the needs of the IDP's.

Melendi Malang, UN MHT chief, announced the commitment of an initial amount of USD3 million (PHP150 million) support for the IDPs and intervention for the local governments of Kidapawan City, Tulunan, and Makilala.

Malang said UN MHT will work hand in hand with Catamco and will abide by the plans as long as it fits their vision and mission as humanitarian agencies.

A total of 3,000 pieces of marine plywood, 1,000 pieces galvanized iron sheets, hundreds of kilos of nails were provided by the provincial government and lumber products donated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to the 435 families in Barangay Ilomavis. Beneficiaries were residents whose houses were totally and partially damaged by the calamity.

To add surprise and fun, carabaos and cows were awarded to IDP's through raffles, under the Sagip Hayop program of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian.

Datu Damaso Bayawan, indigenous peoples (IPs) mandatory representative, said Tuesday was a very special day for them.

Bayawan said the IPs feel so special and proud of Catamco whom they consider as "Diwata" (goddess) of Mount Apo. We thought we were already left behind by the government, Bayawan said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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