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Crisis begets money ideas in Tacloban

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 03:07 AM December 21, 2013

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Some Taclobanons are turning tragedy into opportunity.

While many businesses suffered losses and individuals lost their livelihood due to the devastation left by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” enterprising residents are finding ways of earning income.

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There are DVDs sold at P50 each that spliced together videos on YouTube about Yolanda, providing an illuminating Storm Surge 101. Everything you need to know about a typhoon-generated tsunami is there, said Hanibal Nierras, 24. “The sales are OK,” he said.

The commercial district and some of the city’s main streets, like Real and Imelda, now have electricity but most areas remain without power.

Using small generators, several people have taken advantage of their benighted neighborhoods and have put up their “charging” business for cellular phones, flashlights and laptops, among others, for a fee.

Jeffrey Curbilla, 32, of Barangay 25, is one of them. He bought his equipment in Cebu province for P9,000 and is charging customers P20 an hour. He earns P500 a day—more than the P260 he used to get as a stockman in a Taiwanese shop.

Ramil Perez, 39, of Barangay Hituk-dan, Dagami, has to travel to Tacloban City, about 50 kilometers away, to work as a driver, earning P200 daily. It is a far cry from his income as a coconut farmer. The coconut industry is one of the major casualties of Yolanda’s powerful winds.

Rent-a-car businesses are also thriving. Duptours, Van-van and Grandtours are making a killing. Humanitarian groups and media groups are the main customers. Daily rentals run as high as P10,000.

In spite of some damage, hotels have all been booked solid by international humanitarian groups and charity missions that have descended on the city to assist the survivors.

Jennifer Montejo, general manager of Hotel Lorenza, said the facility was supposed to reopen this month but she had to advance it to Nov. 21 to accommodate the 30-member contingent of Samaritan’s Purse, an international nongovernment organization.

“Our hotel is not that ready yet but with the request, the management of the hotel decided to open. This is our modest way of helping our people,” Montejo said.

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Out of the 50 rooms of the hotel, only 31 were ready for occupancy, with 12 of these fully furnished, she said.

“There is really an opportunity in every crisis,” Montejo said.

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TAGS: Enterpreneur, Leyte, Tacloban, Tacloban City, Yolanda, Yolanda aid
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