Now, the people of Aklan have something to look forward to in 2015.
Last December 3, Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP) and Globe Platinum formally broke ground for another school building in the province of Aklan. The province was one of the areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) last November 2013.
Dubbed the “Noah’s Ark” building, which will serve not only as a classroom, but likewise as an evacuation center, the building will be constructed on the grounds of Balete Elementary School, is funded by Globe Platinum and constructed by Habitat for Humanity Philippines.
Charlie Ayco, CEO & Managing Director of Habitat said, “present public school buildings are usually not designed to be evacuation centres.” He explained that the concept of the Noah’s Ark was birthed from a need to equip school buildings to also “accommodate evacuees whenever there is an emergency.”
The 60-square metre structure boasts of a kitchen and two toilet and bath facilities. The common area serves as both a classroom and as a living area for large numbers of people during typhoon season.
Globe Platinum Director Kaisie Del Carmen expressed that the project will help “give the gift of hope and inspiration to many more Filipinos…and give them a better future, ” a desire that was echoed by Globe Telecom’s SVP for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto.
Crisanto further added that while they recognize that “one year is too short for recovery, it is our role to bridge that gap. We will not only rebuild, but we will build back better.”
Habitat for Humanity is also partnering with Globe Telecom to build six more Noah’s Ark buildings in some of the hardest hit municipalities in Aklan, namely Altavas, Banga, Batan, Libacao, Madalag and New Washington.
Other projects on the table
Apart from the school buildings, Habitat for Humanity Philippines is looking to expand its projects to permanent housing in the province.
Ayco said, “When [Habitat for Humanity goes] into a community, it comes with a decision if should we stay long term.” In his message during the groundbreaking, he explained that they have begun talks with the provincial government to provide regular housing for the teachers and civil servants.
“Habitat for Humanity believes that everyone should have a decent house to live in. So we are looking to start a [subsidized housing] program that will also provide assistance to people belonging to the next tier: Those who earn, but whose income isn’t enough to rebuild.”
In Aklan, nearly 120,000 families lost their homes in the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan.
In the photo above (L-R): Balete mayor Teodoro Calizo, Jr. OPARR Aklan provincial coordinator Atty. Clarence Guinto, Habitat for Humanity Philippines CEO & Managing Director, Charlie Ayco, Aklan vice-governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo, Globe Platinum director Kaisie Del Carmen, Globe Telecom SVP-Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto and Balete ES principal Julio Gallardez lead the time capsule burial for the new Noah’s Ark school building in Balete Elementary School, Aklan.