Daanbantayan getting back on its feet
Children run towards 62-year-old ice cream vendor Jimmy Villaceran whenever they hear the bell ring each time he does his rounds in Daanbantayan town.
Like Villaceran, other traders from the sari-sari store to commercial establishment owners have resumed business in this northern Cebu town which was among those badly hit by supertyphoon Yolanda nearly three weeks ago.
“At least they can taste something cold because there’s still no power here. Then I also earn profit because it’s selling well. I purchase this in Liloan town but it’s worth it,” Villaceran said in Cebuano.
Conditions in Daanbantayan were quite an improvement from last Nov. 8, when a Cebu Daily News team had to go around fallen trees and power poles that blocked most of the roads leading to the town.
Cebeco Electric Cooperative Inc II (Cebeco II) workers were kept busy repairing power posts and transmission lines.
Relief goods continue to arrive from charitable organizations, private institutions and foreign groups.
A CDN mission distributed food packs and clothes in five sitios in the town last Saturday.
The generous cash and material assistance gave Daanbantayan Mayor Augustus Corro reason to hope that they will also overcome the devastation caused by Yolanda.
“We are very optimistic here because the people and the government are helping. These are just challenges in life and we can all pass through it,” he said in an interview inside his damaged office.
Food for work
Corro said Cebeco II promised that the town’s power supply will be restored in all parts of the town before Christmas.
Half of the barangays now have stable water supply due to the generator sets donated by the Cebu provincial government and the private sector.
Corro added that the Daanbantayan municipal government distributed more than 104,000 food packs to its 20 barangays with a minimum of three to five rounds of distribution in each barangay.
“Everything, all the cash and in-kind donations were accounted for. I give my assurance to the donors that their assistance will reach the people who need it,” Corro said.
The mayor said he has already started the “food for work” scheme for the parents of students enrolled in their elementary, secondary and tertiary schools.
The workers will be tasked to clear the schools of debris like damaged posts, crumpled galvanized iron sheets and fallen trees in exchange for food packs good for two days.
Only barangays in remote areas will be given food packs since the “situation is harder in the place compared to those located near the center,” he said.
A Swiss and French team also helped secure the schools.
Xavier Ranchon, head of the 10-man team deployed in the town by the French non-government organization (NGO) ALMNS said they already cleared four schools in the area since their arrival last Nov. 17.
The same team also set up a water purifier near the Daanbantayan Central School which converts ground water into potable water for the residents to drink.
“We’ve seen the Filipino spirit and it’s just tremendous. We will not tire of helping this country get back on its feet,” he told Cebu Daily News. /Peter L. Romanillos, Correspondent
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