June 3, 2017
The Catholic Church closed its three-year Yolanda rehabilitation program with a symbolic visit by His Eminence Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in Basey, Samar last June 1.
Cardinal Tagle, who is also the president of Caritas Internationalis, celebrated a holy mass at the St. Michael de Archangel Parish in Basey. He was also joined by National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines National Director Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, Palo Archbishop John Du, and the priests of the nine dioceses involved in the Catholic Church’s Yolanda response.
During the visit, Tagle also had a meeting with the representatives of Yolanda-affected communities in Samar, Leyte and Eastern Samar.
He cited the importance of resiliency and sustainability in preparation for future calamities, which is among the advocacies of Caritas.
He also announced that Caritas Internationalis has appointed Caritas Asia, which includes NASSA/Caritas Philippines, as the global lead in disaster response and reduction following the success of the Haiyan response in the country.
“So far, in all areas, Caritas Internationalis considers their experience of the Haiyan response in the Philippines as the best amid the difficulties during the response,” Tagle explained.
Yolanda survivors from 18 communities in the towns of Basey, Marabut and Sta. Rita in Samar also showcased their organic products and handicrafts under the livelihood projects of Caritas.
He also visited the livelihood projects in the community of Guirang in Basey. Among them are mat weaving, which the community is known for in the province, and agricultural farms and poultry production.
Tagle also checked the Caritas relocation site for Yolanda survivors, as well as its solid waste management project in the communities of Bacubac and Rawis both in Basey, respectively.
He also visited the Pope Francis Village, an in-city housing relocation project for 600 Yolanda families living in danger zones in Tacloban city. It is a people-driven model community that will not only provide permanent shelter but also restore the people’s sources of income through the provision of space for organic farming. It will also have a day care center, a school, a chapel, and a basketball court.
Cardinal Tagle also spearheaded a meeting, where he personally thanked the Caritas partners who worked and supported the Catholic Church’s three-year Yolanda rehabilitation program.
There was a discussion of the future plans of NASSA/Caritas Philippines together with the dioceses and international Caritas partners linking humanitarian response and development. This includes the official launch of a new program called “#SEARCHDev”, which aims to sustain the initiatives and best practices in Yolanda areas and replicate them to other disaster-prone provinces.
So far, the Catholic Church through NASSA/Caritas Philippines and other Caritas Internationalis member organizations have already helped 1.8 million people affected by Yolanda in the past three years with funds amounting to more than P3.2 billion.
Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based umbrella organization of 165 catholic charity organizations worldwide which includes NASSA/Caritas Philippines, is currently headed by Tagle, its first Asian president.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the development, advocacy, and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the Philippines that is working with the social action centers of the 85 dioceses across the country.
Caritas Internationalis President Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle together with NASSA/Caritas Philippine National Director Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona check the organic products of Yolanda survivors in Samar. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
Cardinal Tagle during the holy mass he officiated in Basey, Samar. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
Cardinal Tagle visit the Yolanda survivors living in the relocation site built by the Catholic Church through Caritas in Barangay Bacubac, Basey in Samar. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
Cardinal Tagle together with Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona and Archbishop John Du during the a visit to the mat weavers of Barangay Guirang in Basey. The community is known for at weaving in Samar. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
April Ann Abello-Bulanadi