BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar, December 23 (PIA) — Some 121 families in Brgy. Carmen, Hernani, Eastern Samar will have a merrier Christmas this year as they received their new homes with the help of Gawad Kalinga (GK) Community Development Foundation, Inc. and the Local Government Unit of Hernani.

On December 12, 2015, the said institutions officially turned-over 121 row housing units led by Fr. Ben Niebres, former President, Ateneo de Manila University (AMU) and (GK) National Board of Director, Fr. Cesar Marin, Treasurer, Jesuits of the Philippines, Mr. Jose Emilio Oquinana, Movement Building – National Coordinator and witnessed by Hon. Edgar C. Boco, Municipal Mayor, Hon. Wilmar S. Candido, Municipal Vice-Mayor, Hon. Paciano C. Orocay, Jr. ABC Pres. and Engr. Eddie Mulig, Construction Engineer.

Engr. Mulig said that one unit costs P155,000.00, is loftable and with a land area of 4 x 6 square meters with sala, dining, kitchen and comfort room.

Mulig said further that there is still 99 housing units to be built which will complete the 220 housing units for the said GK Village, that started already on December 14, 2015 and is hoped will be completed on May 2015.

During the turn-over ceremony, Fr. Ben Niebres told the beneficiaries that their dream to have a house is the first step towards a bright future for their children, while their mission is Education. He challenged the beneficiaries to give priority, the education of their children.

Meanwhile, in his message, Fr. Cesar Marin, emphasized that the housing project marks a fresh start for the community. “The GK will not only bring positive changes in the community but will also serve as a symbol of a new beginning for residents of Carmen.”

He pointed out on the three (3) most important things: “Walang Iwanan”. 1.) continue to pray for the donors, 2.) take care of this site and 3.) continue for the Bayanihan Challenge.

Mayor Boco thanked the GK for providing the beneficiaries a shelter they can now call their own. He also added that the project serves as an early Christmas gift to the families in Brgy. Carmen who have been long dreaming of a permanent house.

He reminded the beneficiaries the do’s and don’ts in the GK Village and to take good care of their houses as their own.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jose Emilio Oquinana said that in order to cultivate a sense of ownership and appreciation for the housing among beneficiaries, GK makes sure that they provide a minimum of 1,000 man-hours in sweat equity before each unit is awarded to a family.

He further said that sweat equity is important as it gives the beneficiaries a sense of pride and will encourage them to take good care of the homes that they worked so hard to build.