LOON, Bohol As if haunted by the spirits of slump and government failure, ten bunkhouses built in this old town are likely to become a ghost town if earthquake victims are able to erect their own permanent dwellings. Planners and government officials put up this at the back of the town?s
graveyards on a hill to accommodate the victims that only a third temporarily live here, leaving neighborhood with uninhibited rooms, eerily desolate in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck the province on Oct. 15, 2013. And no less P-Noy inaugurated these temporary shelters that looked like an abandoned doubled-walled dwellings where grasses grow on their yards. According Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office that 25 families originally reside here after they were given the chance to settle here though momentarily. Abella family, who has nine children, said in an exclusive interview that only eleven of them remain there. Others had to abandon their rooms at the bunkhouses since they already received other house assistance to build home for good. Some deserted the place because there?s no job here as evidenced by the padlocked rooms.
The couple, Violeta Abella, 50 and Romeo Abella, 51, said in vernacular the bunkhouses were not put to proper use and ?sayang ang gigasto? since only about one-fourth of the target 100 families to be accommodated availed of the opportunity. They said that many victims wanted to have a unit of the bunkhouse but were not granted since some of them have already received assistance from other donors. The remaining families, Abella said, are making the rooms for their rest house only since they leave for work during the day and came back at night time. The Abella family is still confronting the predicament of where to stay for good permanently. They said they don?t own a lot thus disqualified to avail of other housing assistance like those provided by the Habitat for Humanity Foundation.
Another dilemma they?re facing is the fact that they?re only temporary in the bunkhouse. They said they don?t know if the municipal government allows them to live here permanently even alongside the dead in their concrete graveyards, just across the access dirt road. But they still are thankful that nobody from their brood of 11 was hurt when their make-shift house in coastal barangay Napo collapsed at the time the tremor struck this town, the couple recalled. A resident here joked that it?s better for the deceased because they?re settled in a concrete dwelling but the living almost doesn?t have even a home of light materials to stay permanently.
Bunkhouses and service Facility are built by Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Dept. of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as implementing agencies. Ten units for ten families each were erected.
A bunkhouse is measured 8.8 meters X 24 meters with an area of 211 square
meters for ten rooms made of plywood, G. I. sheet roofings. A room?s size is 3.6 meters X4.8 meters or an area of 17.28 square meters. The bunkhouses are equipped with 8-seat water-sealed toilets, four bathrooms, four washing areas and 20 cooking partitions.
Still, there are no exact figures as to how many permanent houses were completed, according to the social welfare office here. But the municipal government here is trying to fill the gap, it said. It said that a total of 11,954 families have been aided by the different donations. Totally damaged houses numbering 1,511 and partially damaged, 5,698. The agency said that a total of 8,190 ?shelters? have been assisted by the National Housing Authority (NHA). DSWD was able to extend assistance to 2,229 for partially damaged and 1,101 totally damaged houses. Malta Foundation also helped raise roofs for 125 victims in barangays Badbad Occidental and Oriental, Basac, Basdacu, Cabadug, Cogon Norte, Cuasi, Lintuan, Moto Norte and Sur, Napo, Pig-ot, Tangnan, Taytay, Ticugan, Tubodacu and Sandingan. Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) put eight (8) houses; 10 by Process Foundation, 118 by Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy; 70 by Habitat for Humanity Foundation and 20 by Internatinal Organization for Migration (IOM), based on the agency?s list. This town is one of the badly hit by earthquake whose damage runs to millions of pesos, not counting the dead. Its centuries-old church went to ashes as a result of the tremor, the worst in Bohol?s recent memory.