PALO, LEYTE – A total of 255 prefab housing units were turned over Saturday to typhoon Yolanda survivors by Tzu Chi Foundation in Brgy. San Jose, Palo, Leyte, in a resettlement area named as “Great Love Village”. The inauguration and turnover ceremonies coincided with the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
In the blessing and inauguration program, Palo Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla signed the acceptance of the housing units in behalf of the grateful beneficiaries who were awarded the houses for free.
Mayor Petilla expressed her profuse thanks to the Tzu Chi leaders and other volunteers who worked tirelessly to finish the project in such a short time. The land area for the resettlement project was purchased by the Palo municipal government to start the project.
The other volunteers who helped make the project a reality came from aid organizations All Hands, Samaritan’s Purse, volunteers from Cebu, and volunteers in Taiwan who produced the prefab materials.
Special mention was given to a Taiwanese project supervisor called Apollo, who did not go home last Christmas and New Year, and stayed with the project just to complete it on time.
The housing units awarded came complete with home utensils and some provisions, and each unit was also provided with individual solar panels for electric power since there is no electric connection yet to the site.
The awarding of the units by the foundation was led by Alfredo Li, CEO in the Philippines of Tzu Chi. He was assisted by Henry Yuñez, project coordinator, and Eugene Tan, Tzu Chi representative in Tacloban City.
A Tzu Chi official remarked to this EV MAIL reporter that Tzu Chi could not initiate the same resettlement project in Tacloban City to help Yolanda victims, since no land was donated, and the Tacloban City government also did not provide any resettlement site.
During the awarding program, the beneficiaries were reminded by their Tzu Chi friends and benefactors to love their new homes and maintain them with care. They were also advised to treat their new community as one family and to love one another. They were given the message of Tzu Chi’s Master Chen to “keep a pure heart and to give something of their selves to help without expecting anything in return.”
As part of the ceremonies, the beneficiaries’ children performed some Tzu Chi songs taught them by the volunteers. One of the songs performed was entitled “It’s So Happy To Know You”.