pope francis

TACLOBAN CITY, Aug. 18 (PNA) – A village named after Pope Francis will soon rise in this city, implemented by the Roman Catholic church-based organization Francesco (Pope Francis for Resilient and Co-Empowered Sustainable Communities).

Francesco is a consortium composed of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, Urban Poor Associates, the Archdiocese of Palo.

The housing project will benefit 550 families living in nine villages along coastal areas of the city, tagged as danger zone.

Pope Francis village is a PHP75 million project that will rise in a 12-hectare land in Diit village, some five kilometers north of downtown. This is the first in-city housing project for super typhoon Yolanda victims in Tacloban by the Roman Catholic Church.

The projects when finished has its own multi-purpose building, Day Care Center, Health Center, school campus, material recovery facility, commercial building and park and playgrounds.

Constructing it near city proper will keep relocated families to be near to their workplace, schools and hospital unlike the relocation site identified by the city government in the northern part of the city which is far from commercial centers.

As counterpart of the government to this project, the Department of Public Works and Highways will be doing the site development while the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Shelter Core Program will allocate PHP38 million or PHP70 thousand per housing unit.

Construction of each house requires PHP250,000.

“This is a way of the national government in partnering with the non-government organization in helping super typhoon Yolanda survivors. The national government through the DSWD will be providing funds for the construction of the house while the beneficiary will do their share in constructing their houses,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman during his visit here on Monday.

The fund from the government will be downloaded to home owners association that will be in charged in the distribution of funds to beneficiaries. This is on top of the amount that beneficiaries will get daily from the DSWD’s cash-for-work program.

Dennis Murphy, executive director of Urban Poor Associates said that “the people chose who would reside at the Pope Francis village.”

“We organized the people into Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and had these people select during the meeting 20 percent of the very poor, 20 percent leader quality and 60 percent ordinary people,” Murphy explained.

During the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pope Francis Village, Gilio Brunelli, director of Development and Peace International Program, reminded beneficiaries to reflect and live in the lessons and wisdom that Pope Francis shared when he visited the city January this year.

Brunelli said that beneficiaries should always do things in peace and harmony and learn to respect creation.

“We need to be humble to Mother Nature; we need to be humble to creation. We need to keep in mind that we are not the owner of this hill, water and plants. We are part of one single world, the world that God created for everybody and for every living thing.”

Joining the groundbreaking of Pope Francis Village were Soliman, Palo Archbishop John Du, Vice-Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, Leyte Board Member Bob Abellanosa, and representatives of national government agencies who will also assist beneficiaries. (PNA)