TACLOBAN CITY, PHILIPPINES — Twenty families now have solid homes to call their own as houses were turned over to them by Standard Chartered Bank alongside Habitat for Humanity Philippines last July 10.
The typhoon-resilient loft row houses, funded by Standard Chartered Bank, are part of a larger master planned Habitat community called Kawayanville, in Barangay 106 Sto. Niño, in the northern tip of Tacloban.
“After Yolanda, we lost everything, even hope,” said Arturo Golong, one of the homepartners in this community.
Golong lived in Barangay 88 in the San Jose district of Tacloban, one of hardest hit areas when Yolanda struck. “Everything was washed away,” he said, tearing up. “We thought we could never put our lives back together again. But God answered our prayers.”
First ever in Tacloban
“Despite being over a year since Yolanda, it was worth the wait. Our home partners now sturdy homes,” said Charlie Ayco, Managing Director and CEO of Habitat. Ayco praised Standard Chartered for being the first donor to hold a turn over for Habitat’s Tacloban disaster response program, and expressed his thanks to the company for partnering with Habitat.
The event, graced by executives from Standard Chartered Bank Philippines and its CEO, Anirvan Gosh Dastidar, included outreach activities for homepartners and holistic community development.
“As a bank, it’s been our commitment to be there in the wake of disasters,” Dastidar said, “It’s is a very humbling experience when you look at the smiling faces of people.”
Dastidar explained that their motto “Here for good” means what really matters to them is to impact the lives of people. “It’s not about how much money we make, [but about] seeing the community [flourish].”
Ayco echoed Dastidar’s sentiment, saying that the project will help restart the lives of Yolanda-affected families in Tacloban. And this is just the beginning.
“[Like Standard Chartered], we are also here for good. There are others still in need, and hopefully, there will come a day when no family in Tacloban lives in a danger zone. There will be no homeless families in Tacloban,” Ayco said.
Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez expressed her gratefulness to both Habitat and Standard Chartered for their help in rebuilding the lives of her constituents. “These houses, they symbolize hope. There is a future for Tacloban.”
Arturo Golong agrees. Thankful for the fresh start, he says, “now we can say that we are safe and secure, that we have a home where can live comfortably.”
Turnover in Burauen, Leyte
The following day, Standard Chartered turned over another 50 houses in the town of Burauen, Leyte. Burauen was affected by massive flooding after a nearby river overflowed during the onslaught of Yolanda.
Standard Chartered was also the first corporation to express its desire to partner with Habitat for Humanity Philippines in rebuilding homes in Burauen. This initial partnership opened doors for other private organizations to help rebuild the municipality.