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Home Global Activities Asia Tzu Chi Starts Construction of 2,000 Temporary Homes in the Philippines

Tzu Chi Starts Construction of 2,000 Temporary Homes in the Philippines

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It is one year since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, but tens of thousands of people are still living in government shelters. The Tzu Chi Foundation has decided to build 2,000 temporary homes in Ormoc City. On September 29, it held a large-scale news conference entitled “The Start of Construction of the Tzu Chi Great Love Village in Ormoc”.

It was attended by many dignitaries, including the Mayor of Ormoc, Edward Codilla, and his wife, the Vice-Mayor Carmelo Toto Locsin Jr, the head of the Education Bureau, city representatives, Lions Club members and Free Mansons. Local Chinese business people who have been strong supporters of the project were also present, together with Dodomg Codilla, 90, father of the mayor and himself a former mayor. The event was designed to encourage and respect those who suffered from the disaster. Journalists present included those from Manila, Tacloban, Cebu and the local Ormoc media.

Greatest Blessing – Have Your Own Home

The event was held in a park close to the port of Ormoc and was crowded with people. They were intensely curious to see two of the temporary houses that have already been constructed there, one of 19.86 square meters and the other of 26.48 meters. Around them was planted grass and other greenery, to give a feeling of warmth. Local residents saw their future homes with a mixture of hope and curiosity; they sat on the ‘Jing Si multi-purpose folding bed’ and tested it by pressing with their thumb. “Wow” they said. The housewives among them were most interested in the kitchen and equipment in the bathroom.

Mr and Mrs Ramonito have registered for one of the temporary homes. They made a special trip to the news conference in order to look over their future home. When they entered, Tzu Chi volunteer Zhuang Jin-luan introduced the equipment to them. Mr Ramonito said happily: “there are four people in our family. This home is much larger than our current one. We hope to move in as quickly as we can.”

The volunteers at the event invited everyone to try the quality of the ‘Jing Si multi-purpose folding bed’. One of them, Alfredo Li, introduced it by saying that it could bear a heavy weight. He invited the city representatives to sit on it; three of them did so and were happy to test how much weight it could carry. The mayor, vice-mayor and others were curious about the windows on the roof; the residents showed them how to operate the windows.

One of the representatives, Enar Godi Ebcas, is an engineer of the city government. He said: “from a professional point of view, I am very impressed to see the complete structure of the temporary homes. This is an enormous blessing for the people of Ormoc. The love of the Master is very special. My wife and I wish to use our technical expertise to work together as Tzu Chi volunteers.”

Build Homes With Their Own Hands, Make a Future Full of Hope

At the news conference, Alfredo Li, chief executive of Tzu Chi in the Philippines, described all the work of the foundation since Typhoon Haiyan struck and the relief work it has made, up to the construction of the Great Love village which was to begin that day. In addition, a group of children from the village did a special performance of thanks using sign language. They wore uniforms and shoes given to them by the volunteers; their faces were full of smiles and self-confidence.

All the volunteers responsible for building the village were wearing the uniforms given to them by Tzu Chi; they entered the conference site in perfect order. Jose Oredo is a leader of the Cash Relief for Rebuild team; he shaved his beard as a mark of respect, as did the deputy leader Patriuo Catindoy Jr who shaved all the hair off his head. He is delighted to lead his fellow residents in building their new homes with their own hands. Li Wei-gao was happy to give his blessing: “Master Cheng Yen is very confident that the people of Ormoc have the ability to assemble the temporary homes,” he said.

The mayor of Ormoc and his father performed a ceremony to mark the start of the building by opening the large gate of the village. Dodomg Codilla, 90, used a spade to dig the earth, as a symbol of the ability of the residents and their willingness to start the work.

A young girl named Princess Analyn D. Aballe gave a speech on behalf of those who will move into the homes: “We thank Tzu Chi for the rice and other things it has given us. We thank you for the sweets and the songs you have taught us. We thank you for the homes you will give us in the future. We will never forget you. You will always remain in our hearts.” She said that she hoped these sentiments could be passed to the most respected Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan. She handed a card to volunteer Chen Jin-hai who promised it to pass it to the Master.

Great Love Brings Goodness, Brings Reconstruction of Ormoc

So the construction of the temporary homes brought from Taiwan started, witnessed by the mayor and hundreds of people. Mayor Edward Codilla praised the contribution of Tzu Chi to Ormoc. He said: “We have heard many organizations speak of the design of Tzu Chi’s temporary homes – although they are simple, they have all the equipment you need. They show the wisdom of Master Cheng Yen.”

The local television stations have broadcast what Tzu Chi has done in the aftermath of the typhoon. They acknowledged how useful the new homes will be to the local residents. A reporter with an Ormoc cable television station, said: “the people need to know the good things that Tzu Chi has done, especially what they have done in Ormoc. They have provided great help to the Philippines, made an enormous contribution and improved the standard of living.”

When the homes are completed, they will be a symbol of the rebirth of Ormoc. They carry the love of people from around the world and the hopes of its children. They will give a new strength to the people of Ormoc to open a new page in their life.

Report by Lu Si-xuan and Deng Ying-zhong, members of documentation team in the Philippines September 29, 2014

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" Those who have great wisdom must all the more be humble and unassuming, just like the rice stalk that bows under the weight of ripe grain. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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