ORMOC CITY, March 21 (PNA) – The SM Foundation Inc. will build 200 permanent houses in this city as part of its long- term assistance to areas ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda in central Philippines.
The 200 disaster-resilient houses will rise in a two-hectare lot in Concepcion village, a property donated by City Mayor Mayor Edward C. Codilla.
Each house costs Php 250,000 each, arguably the most expensive housing project for typhoon Yolanda victims. This is because the concrete houses can withstand 250 kilometers winds and a magnitude 7 earthquake.
This means SM Cares will spend Php 50 million on the houses alone. Each single-storey house has a size of 20 square meters, including a three square meters open area at the back which also serves as kitchen. Its high floor-ceiling ratio makes it loft-ready. Duty Free Philippines Cares contributed Php 6.6 million, good enough to build 12 units.
Total cost of the project is Php 300 million, to include site development that will feature a half-hectare football field, community center, main road and secondary roads measuring 6 and 5 meters wide, respectively, to be funded by donations from employees, contractors and tenants of SMPH.
No less than Marissa Fernan, senior vice president of SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPH) led the groundbreaking of a housing project on March 18.
The project is undertaken by SM Cares, a division of SM Foundation Inc., the group that handles the corporate social responsibility programs of the country’s mall developer
In her opening remarks, the mayor’s wife Engr. Violeta Codilla thanked SM Cares for the project. “I would like to extend my profound gratitude to the SM Foundation and to the family of Mr. Hans Sy. This is a great contribution to our city.” She also asked her husband to concretize the road leading to the site.
In response, Mayor Codilla directed the city engineering office to prioritize concreting the access.
Asked by media how the project came to be, Fernan recalled how she narrated about their housing projects in Cebu and Tacloban to the mayor’s niece Christina Codilla-Frasco in a same flight.
Frasco became interested in putting a similar project in Ormoc and hooked up SM Cares to her uncle-mayor. Early this year, Codilla allowed the use of another 50-hectare land owned by his family for a housing project for 2,000 families.
Priority beneficiaries of SM Cares Village will be families who are forced to live in danger zones because of the super typhoon. They will be required to demolish their old structures to ensure they won’t return and will be made to take part of a livelihood project of Answering the Cry of the Poor, a Catholic non-profit organization.
Considering that the units will be equipped with modern amenities like flushing toilets and aluminum sliding windows, the residents will be trained on how to take care of their new homes.
Fernan hopes they can also get scholars from among the beneficiaries’ children. SM Cares has over 1,000 scholars, 120 of them from Leyte.
Fernan told residents will not own the homes; rather, they will just be allowed to occupy the units for 25 years subject for renewal to prevent them from selling their rights or renting out the homes. The project is targeted to be finished on the third week of September. (PNA)
RMA/ SQM/FELIX N. CODILLA/EGR