Tzu Chi Foundation’s cash-for-work program to clean up the Great Love City in Barangay Liloan, Ormoc City comes to a close on December 29.
During their last assembly, Angel Carlyn Jandoc, 11, together with her cousins and friends, offers Christmas songs to the cash-for-work participants. Moved, the participants gave their loose changes to the children. Angel donates everything they have collected to Tzu Chi.
In the evening, Tzu Chi volunteers organized a simple thanksgiving program. After a prayer, Tzu Chi volunteers serve a simple vegetarian dinner for the villagers. Cash-for-work participants, members of Tzu Chi Ormoc Youth Group, and Tzu Chi volunteers gather around a bonfire, singing Christmas songs and sharing insights about their experiences during and after the Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak).
Urduja dumped torrential rains over the Eastern Visayas region on the second week of December 2017, resulting to landslides and widespread flooding. Around 40 individuals were reportedly killed in these incidents. In Ormoc, 26 villages were badly affected. One of them is the Great Love City, Tzu Chi’s housing village for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
The heavy downpour that lasted for days resulted to the overflowing of the nearby river and flooding. This forced the villagers to evacuate to the nearest schools.
In the aftermath, the villagers were faced with the daunting task of cleaning up the 50-hectare village, which was filled with mud and debris. After distributing relief goods and cash assistance to the residents, Tzu Chi launched a cash-for-work program on December 26, hoping to motivate the residents to clean their homes and the whole neighborhood. After every day of cleanup, participants received Php250 cash assistance.
The program proved effective in hastening the cleanup and addressing the garbage problem, which posed health threats among the villagers. Tzu Chi also deployed heavy equipment such as pay loaders and dump trucks to quickly haul off the debris and mud out of the main streets and alleys.
Four days since the program was launched, there have been noticeable improvement. Streets that used to be thick with mud and where debris stretched from both ends began to look more pleasing to the eyes. Trees, plants, and greenery became visible and were more beautiful than ever. Recovery is on the horizon.
Villager and local Tzu Chi volunteer Danilo Daligdig, 49, shows his gratitude through a new song he composed about Tropical Storm Urduja and how Tzu Chi has helped them on its wake.
“Let everyone who will receive the cash assistance be diligent because the money we receive came from donations. Tzu Chi volunteers worked hard to solicit them in order to keep helping others in need. Let’s stay strong and clean everything up so that Master Cheng Yen will be happy,” the song goes.
Daligdig composed the song while helping out in the cleanup. “I thought of making a song for the villagers of Great Love City to lift up their spirits, encourage them to quickly clean up our community and recover again,” explains Daligdig.
The song was an instant hit among the villagers.
Former Ormoc City Mayor Edward Codilla also pay a visit to the village. Tzu Chi volunteers update him on the progress of their relief work and cleanup drive.
To recall, the land where the Great Love City currently stands was a donation from the Codilla family. In 2014, the Codilla couple flew to Taiwan to personally present the donation to Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen. The Master told them that they are not donating to Tzu Chi but to the people of Ormoc who will receive the houses.
Through the gesture of the Codillas, Tzu Chi managed to put up over 1,500 units of prefabricated shelters for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in Ormoc. The houses were made of Polypropylene plastic (PP) boards and steel frames from Texas, USA and Taiwan.
Learning about how Tzu Chi volunteers have assisted the residents after the flooding, Codilla is moved.
“I want to thank you for all your help and for cleaning up the Great Love City,” he says.
Young villagers, led by Angel Carlyn Jandoc, offer a Christmas carol to the cash-for-work participants.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Everyone bows their heads and puts their palms together for the final prayer on the last day of the cash-for-work cleanup program.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
At day’s end, the participants of the program receive their cash assistance.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
A street at the Great Love City has been cleared of debris through the cash-for-work program.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Danilo Daligdig performs the song he composed about Tropical Storm Urduja and Tzu Chi’s response during the thanksgiving program.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Villagers happily sing with Danilo Daligdig’s new song about the Tropical Storm Urduja and Tzu Chi’s cash-for-work program.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi Philippines Deputy CEO Alfredo Li lauds Danilo Daligdig for composing a song about Tropical Storm Urduja and Tzu Chi’s cash-for-work program.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Members of Tzu Chi Ormoc Youth Group perform Christmas songs during the thanksgiving program.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi volunteers serve the cash-for-work participants a simple vegetarian dinner.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Ormoc City’s former mayor Edward Codilla pays a visit at the Great Love City. He thanks Tzu Chi and Master Cheng Yen for the love and concern they extended to the villagers.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】