Building Homes for the Homeless
Thirteen months after super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) wrought devastation in Central Visayas, St. Scholastica’s College-Manila emergency disaster response has shifted to the next stage – that of rehabilitation. Under the leadership of Sr. Mary Thomas Prado, OSB, then president of SSC-M and Sr. Celine Saplala, OSB, Coordinator of the Institutional Social Action Center, a resettlement project was established in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity with Sr. Noella Montiel, OSB as SSB project coordinator, Manila-based and Ms. Rita Celada, project coordinator, Tacloban-based.
Last Dec. 27, 2014 at nine in the morning, the ground breaking ceremony took place in Barangay Libertad, Palo, Leyte. Rev. Fr. Den Michael Canaleja, resident pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, blessed the site and the time capsule. The sinking of the time capsule was led by Sr. Mary Frances Dizon, OSB, Acting President of SSC-Manila, Sr. Celine, Sr. Noella, Fr. Michael Canaleja, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla, Mr. David Liban Jr., representative of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, and Barangay Libertad Captain Mrs. Darina Romer. Future family settlers were also present to witness the ground breaking rites together with other benefactors, guests and friends.
Pledges of support and collaboration were delivered by Governor Petilla and Sr. Celine. In addition, Mr. Liban explained to the assembly the long-term and short goals of Habitat Philippines in building houses and at the same time providing means of livelihood and forming a bond of community among the settlers. Lastly, Ms. Elfreda Rifalda, a future settler, expressed her appreciation and gratitude in behalf of the other settlers for providing houses for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda that would enable them to slowly rebuild their lives after experiencing the tragedy.
This partnership of SSC-Manila with Habitat for Humanity aims at helping the San Benito Resettlement Project create a new, empowered, self-sustaining community in Barangay Libertad, Palo. Leyte. May this dream come true soon as the province awaits the coming of Pope Francis.
By: Sr. Rosalina Fajardo, OSB
High School Principal