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October 15, 2016
Three years after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the island of Bohol, locals are getting back on their feet with renewed hope and strength.
It was 8:12 in the morning of October 15, 2013 when a powerful earthquake shook the island province. The quake, whose epicenter was recorded in the municipality of Sagbayan, levelled private properties and public structures like centuries-old churches.
The disaster impacted the island's topography and infrastructures, causing power cuts, water shortages, and damages to sources of livelihood. But more than the physical beauty of Bohol are heartbreaking tales that survivors cannot easily forget.
To this day, Sagbayan residents Anita and Crestituto Tirol can still picture how the earthquake had left them and their family trembling. "Nasa palayan kami kasama ang bunso naming anak. Nataranta talaga kami. Dumapa na lang kami sa palayan, ni hindi ko agad namalayan na nasa likod ko pala ang anak ko sa sobrang takot. Sinubukan naming silipin ang bahay kahit lumilindol pa pero wala na nasira na lahat ng gamit. Nawalan na talaga kami ng pag-asa," 60-year-old Anita tearfully recalled.
The couple was still grateful for the relief goods given by different organizations, but refused to return to their home because they were afraid that another earthquake might strike. Instead, they chose to build a small hut, which they lived in for two years. "Ayaw ko nang bumalik, ayaw na talaga. Nagtayo muna kami ng bahay-kubo. Mababa lang kaya kailangan talagang yumuko kapag dadaan. Ang hirap, â€˜wag na sanang bumalik ang lindol."
For Juner Padayao of Bgy. Canmaya Centro, damaged roads and levelled homes could not stop him from reaching his wife and kids. "Nasa trabaho ako noon sa Poblacion. Sobra talagang pag-aalala ko. Kahit may aftershock pa, naglakad na talaga ko pauwi. Pagdating ko, naabutan ko na lang sila sa may bukid. Buti na lang walang nangyari," shared Juner.
Though living in a tent was not the best for his family, Juner was left with no other choice, "Siguro mga tatlong taon din kami sa tent. Mahirap ang pagkain, minsan maulan pa. Bago lang â€˜yung bahay namin tapos nasira lang agad-agad. Isang iglap, nawala lahat." The desperate conditions led Juner's wife to work as a househelper in Dubai.
The Bohol earthquake undoubtedly painted a sight of fear and misery among the locals. But, a sign of hope came when real estate developer DMCI Homes partnered with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the provincial government of Bohol, and shelter non-profit Habitat for Humanity Philippines for ReBuild Bohol Projectâ€”a housing program that aims to rebuild hard-hit areas and build new homes for families in the province.
Under this partnership, a total of 206 core shelters were turned over to families from the municipality of Sagbayan, in the following barangays: Canmano, Canmano Centro, Canmano Diot, Kabascan, Kagawasan, Katipunan, Langtad, Mantalongon, San Agustin, San Isidro, and San Ramon. The new homes, built with reinforced steel frames and tightly-woven bamboo strips plastered with concrete, are meant to withstand strong earthquakes and even typhoons.
Sharing Habitat's belief that a decent home helps transform lives, DMCI Homes is thankful for the privilege to helping Boholanos families like the Tirols and Padayaos. This meaningful effort is part of DMCI Homes' corporate social responsibility campaign under its Kaakbay Program.
"Sobrang saya, kaya ang mga tao dapat lagging kakapit sa Diyos. Hindi dapat mawalan ng pag-asa," said Anita Tirol, with a sigh of relief now that they'll be starting a more comfortable life. Presently, the couple cultivates corn on their land.
Juner's anxiety and worry, meanwhile, was replaced with feeling of security. "Kumportable na kami lalo na ang mga bata kasi matibay [ang bahay]. Hindi delikado kapag umulit ang lindol."
As Bohol continues to rebuild itself from the disaster, its residents are also starting to rebuild their dreams and lives, thanks to their new homesâ€”new homes that will shelter their renewed spirits and hopes towards a brighter future.
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