THERE IS HOPE FOR SAINT BERNARD AND ITS PEOPLE
PBSP’s response to the Saint Bernard landslide disaster is the Southern Leyte Rehabilitation Program (SLRP) – a development strategy that would ensure the long-term economic and psychosocial survival of the communities directly affected or displaced by the landslide.
Consistent with PBSP’s flagship poverty reduction strategy, the Area Resource Management (ARM) Program, SLRP will create sustainable livelihood opportunities, provide basic social services, and promote ecological preservation and regeneration. Recognizing the very important role of the local government, PBSP will help strengthen the Saint Bernard Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council (MDCC), among its capabilities is its preparedness to respond and manage disasters and calamities.Priority Activities
PBSP is working closely with the Provincial Government of Southern Leyte under the leadership of Gov. Rosette Lerias and the Municipal Government of Saint Bernard led by Mayor Maria Lim in implementing the SLRP. At present, several members of the business community have poured their support or expressed their commitment to help the people of Saint Bernard. PBSP, on the other hand, has been appointed by the Saint Bernard MDCC to be the lead agency for enterprise development and livelihood rehabilitation.
The priorities of the first phase of the SLRP are Guinsaugon, the barangay that was totally wiped out by the landslide, and five other adjacent barangays identified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as hazard zones because the major and minor Philippine fault lines are traversing in their areas. These barangays are Ayahag, Hinabian, Magatas, Nueva Esperanza and Sug-angon. The relocation site for the families of Guinsaugon has already been identified, and the preparations for the permanent relocation are ongoing. The local government, on the other hand, is still working on the identification of other viable relocation areas.Livelihood Rehabilitation
PBSP has classified sustainable livelihood activities for the people into four, namely: very short-term livelihood projects, short-term livelihood projects, medium-term livelihood projects, and long-term livelihood projects.
The very short term economic activities will ensure earnings after a two-week period. These are food processing (meat, fish and vegetables), cosmetology, crochet, production of souvenir or novelty items from waste products, decorative candle making, production of bamboo and abaca based gifts, toys and house wares, reflexology, concrete hollow blocks making and electronic or pasa load.
The short-term livelihood projects will ensure income earnings in one to six months. These are processing of virgin coconut oil, hand made paper making to support the bamboo and abaca based GTH, quilting, sewing, trisikad, food vending. Once the evacuees are resettled, projects like consumer or sari-sari store, bakery, mushroom culture, and broiler and quail egg production can be implemented. The beneficiaries will also be encouraged to start vermi composting (organic fertilizer) and home lot gardening using the FAITH Concept (Food Always in the Home). The vermi composting project can in fact be a community effort that would support solid waste management in the resettlements.
The medium-term economic activities will be engaged within six to twelve months. These are bamboo based furniture making, handicrafts, production of gifts, toys and house wares, ornamental plants raising, water station refilling and ice making project. Mariculture can also be introduced particularly for those households that will be relocated along the Saint Bernard Bay.
Finally, the long-term economic development activities are the skills training for young adults so that they would become employable or may be enabled to start their own businesses. Identified skills training are welding, masonry, carpentry, electricity, plumbing, cell phone and appliance repair.
In approaching these income-generating activities, PBSP will provide enterprise development and capability building trainings. Multi-purpose and productivity centers will also be established. Banking on the experiences of PBSP with trade fairs and wider market exposures, support will be given on enterprise development, market linkage, technical knowledge improvement, and participation in trade fairs and exhibits.Social Services
The other aspect of the socio-economic system component is availability of basic social services. The identified basic social services are construction of an elementary school buildings, day care, health and trauma centers, establishment of a learning resource center with internet connectivity, electrification, and installation of potable water systems.
At present, the Guinsaugon families are trained to produce concrete hollow blocks that will be used in the construction of houses in the relocation area. The carpenters, masons and electricians who have lost their tools and equipments in the landslide can once again engage in construction activities with the new sets of tools that are to be provided, while the women will also be taught to engage in income-generating activities like food processing and production of gifts, toys and housewares, among others.
In the next two years, the 311 families of Guinsaugon will once again be productive. On the other hand, the households from the other barangays that need to be relocated will also engage in various livelihood initiatives that would ensure sustainable income.
4th Floor PLDT Building, Juan Luna Ave.
Tel. No. (032) 232-5270 232-5283
Fax No. (032) 232-5286
Leo Dionisio H. Hilado, Jr.
Jessie M. Cubijano
Raymund L. Bandalan