Since November 2009, the Haligi ng Bata, Incorporated (HBI) through the support of CO-OPERAID Switzerland and Swiss Solidarity (SWS) has been implementing relief and development projects for people, communities and schools affected by Typhoons Ketsana and Parma which hit the Philippines on the last week of September 2009 and first week of October 2009. Through CO-OPERAID and Swiss Solidarity, three typhoon-related projects were implemented. The first was the Phase 1 Relief and Rehabilitation Project (November 2009 – October 2010) which provided relief goods (food, house materials, school needs), medical support, livelihood support and minor repair of houses and schools. Project areas include nine (9) Metro Manila and La Union communities and 12 Metro Manila and La Union public schools. In total, a total of 3,619 typhoon-affected students and 2,162 parents, children and community members were reached.
After the Phase 1 Project, HBI implemented the Phase 2: Rural Reconstruction Project (April 2010 – April 2012) which reconstructed eight (8) of the most typhoon-damaged schools in the coastal and mountain-side La Union towns of Bangar and Luna. In total, 1,691 students, eight communities and approximately 90 teachers benefitted from the 20 classrooms, canteens, libraries and school facilities reconstructed by the project. 212 community and school-group members were organized to be members of the Building Maintenance Committees who were trained in plumbing, carpentry, electricity, disaster management and termites-control.
During the identification of schools for the Phase 2 Project, HBI also visited and evaluated numerous La Union school buildings which were not in need of major reconstruction but are in need of major repairs for it to be fully-functional for all students, teachers and school-community groups. The said school buildings were also seen by CO-OPERAID’s then executive director, Dr. Rao Satapati, and it was suggested that they be aided with a major repair project. With these, HBI through the support of SWS and CO-OPERAID implemented the Phase 3: Rural Reconstruction Project on October 2011 to December 2012.
In total, 17 school infrastructures (11 classrooms, 3 libraries, 2 canteens and 1 school clinic) from the La Union towns of Sudipen, Bangar and Luna were repaired and now being fully-used by 2,072 students, at least 80 teachers and various school-community groups. Two construction companies – the Alfredo S. Sison Construction Company and the SIRTE Construction Group, were tapped for the repairs. The Phase 3 Project also provided the schools with school materials and teachers’ materials to ensure the continued use of the school buildings repaired.
While major repairs were on-going, a group of 150 community members were organized to form Building Maintenance Committees (BMCs) which will repair and maintain all buildings provided with major repair. Following the advice of SWS and CO-OPERAID, to ensure that the schools and their respective BMCs will have the needed funds maintain and repair buildings, HBI provided school-participants with a livelihood project that will be implemented by community members.
The livelihood projects were Livestock Raising Projects (either goat-raising or hog-raising) and Rice Bank Projects. The schools and community members themselves picked which project they would implement taking into consideration the technical, physical and financial capacity of members, the productive capacity of the farming communities, topography and economic activities in the areas. Through a developed income-sharing scheme, the 254 community members implementing the livelihood projects will share agreed upon number of rice grains, piglets or goats to the schools who can then disperse it to other community families or use it to fund school repairs. As per advice of CO-OPERAID, the Phase 3 Project also provided Phase 2 school-beneficiaries with livestock raising projects. At the tail-end of program implementation, a Community Score Card Process was implemented to evaluate all program activities and to exact accountability from project implementers. The average of the eight schools’ rating on the Phase 3 activities is a high grade of 4.85 out of 5.