For some, P33,000 is just one gadget. It could be one of the latest smartphones in the market, a laptop or a tablet.

But for those who have lost their homes due to series of powerful earthquakes, the amount is enough to build a temporary but comfortable shelter. (Read my story here)

The Provincial Government of Cotabato, in partnership with the military and private sectors, has launched an “Adopt A Family” program that aims to build the temporary shelters through donations or sponsorships.

The amount will cover the materials only as the shelters will be built through a bayanihan system or by the volunteers.

Photo shows one of the permanent shelters made of light materials built by former board member Loreto Cabaya Jr. for the earthquake survivors who moved to Aleosan. (LVC Photo)

Based on the program of work drafted by the provincial engineers, the shelter will be about 20 square meters big and will be made of light materials such as plywoods, kalakat, GI sheets and coco lumbers.

However, Vice Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza said that they are requesting the interested sponsors to purchase the construction materials themselves. Preferably in local hardwares in Tulunan or nearby areas. Her office and the LGU Tulunan can pick up the purchased materials from the stores.

Upon learning this initiative, I remember the shelters built for the displaced villagers at the height of wars in my home province of Cotabato.

The cost  was almost the same but many of those houses in conflict-affected areas were built through food work program initiated by the government and some were initiated by non-government organizations such as Tabang Mindanaw.

The idea may be a temporary shelter but it could become a permanent one for some if not for many depending how they will be able to rise up from the rubble.

Like in the case of the three families from Barangay Sto. Niño in Makilala, they moved to their relatives in Aleosan town, some 100 kilometers away.

Instead of just providing them temporary shelter, former board member Loreto Cabaya Jr. built permanent houses for them.

What makes the effort more exceptional was that Cabaya employed them into his farm as rubber tappers and caretakers for his livestock farm.

The idea of providing this temporary shelters is for the displaced families to move out from the makeshift tents. They can’t be sleeping under the tents for another month or more. It’s still uncertain if how long some of them could return to their places of origin.

Unlike wars, villagers could easily identify safer grounds. The cycle of violence in Central Mindanao have taught the villagers to master the art of evacuation. They knew that there are certain places where they could sought shelter.

For example the town proper of Pikit, it has been the favorite evacuation center whenever there are fightings in the neighboring town of Aleosan, Pagalungan and Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun in Maguindanao. When warring groups have have ceased fighting and have already left the villages, the residents may to return home.

In my experiences of covering the wars, evacuees could return to their villages after the smokes have cleared. But in these earthquakes, it remains uncertain. Some because of trauma, some have totally lost their homes and some could no longer return because of the risk of landslide.

The road to recovery will be long and arduous.

Thus, if you wan to help, check out this  Program of Work of the temporary shelter.