Caritas Virac, partners bring P96-M aid to Catanduanes

As of the middle of January, Caritas Virac Justice & Peace Inc. has brought nearly P96 million in relief and rehabilitation assistance to victims of last year’s successive typhoons in Catanduanes.

According to Rev. Fr. Renato dela Rosa, executive director of Caritas Virac, about P38 million of this aid has been delivered in various forms to recipients in the 11 towns of the island.

Among these are 37,836 food packs worth P22.7 million; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) kits for 6,200 recipients and costing P4.96 million; shelter rehab assistance ranging from P5,000 to P10,000 each for 1,020 households at a total cost of P6.9 million; and, P2.4 million worth of clothing, sleeping kits, bags, shoes and slippers.

The shelter rehab funds came from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) or the Divine Word Missionaries, the Vincentians, and Filipino Women’s Chinese Community Organization (FWCCO).

Still to be delivered is the provision of permanent shelters costing a total of P27.5 million for an initial 350 families to be provided by Caritas Philippines/National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), Caritas Damayan, and the Society of Jesus (SJ) in partnership with Caritas Virac.

Together with International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and CRS, the Caritas Virac is now pursuing the implementation of transitional shelter kits consisting of GI sheets, plywood and other materials for 1,130 families at a total cost of nearly P14 million.

Last week, Bishop Manolo delos Santos joined Caritas Virac in distributing food items, thermal kits and household kits to 100 families in Ogong, Viga under the relief effort spearheaded by Coca Cola Foundation which donated 700 such kits worth a total of P3.5 million.

The distribution was held at the Mary Health of the Sick Mission Church where health protocols were put in place by priest in charge Fr. Anthony Ogena and barangay officials.

Other recipients of the Coca Cola aid are barangays Alinawan in Panganiban, Bugao in Bagamanoc, Cobo and Tabugoc in Pandan.

Fr. Dela Rosa disclosed that the recipient validation process is now ongoing with regards to the provision of livelihood assistance, particularly the P6.8 million given by Caritas Damayan for the distribution of 100 motorized bancas and another 60 motorized bancas with fishing gear.

Caritas Philippines and Caritas Virac is also joining hands for another 20 non-motorized boats with fishing gear worth a total of P400,000.

The two Roman Catholic humanitarian and social action arms are providing P4,000 in a Cash-for-Work program for 300 farmers, farm inputs for 500 more as well as P10,000 vouchers for 100 small and medium enterprises. Farm inputs worth P10,000 each will also be given to 40 beneficiaries under the same livelihood program.

Assorted medicines, face masks and face shields are also included in the deliverables, aside from other commitments of international aid organizations, Caritas Virac bared.

Two weeks ago, Fr. Dela Rosa presented Caritas Virac’s Emergency and Shelter Repair Kit with Cash for Work project before the Mid-Term Review of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) attended by UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzales and high-level diplomats at Queen Maricel Inn on Jan. 30, 2021.

Laying out the procedure for identifying and validating prospective beneficiaries through coordination with parish priests, religious elders or “matanda” and barangay captains, he said that community mobilizers first conduct profiling with the use of the Vulnerability Index Tool.

In the rebuilding of transitional shelters, the parish concerned provides one foreman, a skilled worker, and laborer under the supervision of the CRS engineer, with the beneficiary providing counterpart labor or materials or, in case he or she is unable to do so, the “bayanihan” of barangay residents.

A permanent shelter with dimensions of 3 meters by 3 meter, with reinforced concrete slab roofing and costing P75,000 each is being proposed for adoption by UN-CERF, which will course the funds through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Philippines and the CRS. As the actual cost reached P100,000, Caritas Virac will shoulder the required P25,000 as its counterpart.

The proposed project reportedly earned the appreciation of the UN humanitarian coordinator as well as ambassadors present.

The UN-CERF review was intended to provide updates on response actions to typhoon Goni in Catanduanes, highlight critical gaps, unmet needs and key challenges, and provide recommendations to improve or recalibrate its approaches.

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