22 families displaced by Haiyan receive homes courtesy of Build a Shelter projectThe Build A Shelter Project (BASP), a community-based and Consulate-led initiative aimed at building more than a hundred houses in four villages in Eastern Samar and Leyte in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, handed over 22 houses to 22 families in Barangay Pago in Tanauan, Leyte on April 23, 2015.
Vivian Talambiras Cruz, one of the BASP convenors, flew to Tanauan, Leyte to personally visit the recipient families. Tanauan Mayor Pelayo Tecson was also present to witness the simple ceremony.
Cruz stated that she was touched by the resilience of these families, who not only lost their houses but also members of their families.
“I do not want to say that typhoon Yolanda was a blessing but if not because of it, we will not be able to have a decent house,” said one of the mothers to Cruz.
“BASP’s 22 houses were among the first Gawad Kalinga houses built after Typhoon Haiyan hit Eastern Samar and Leyte,” said GK Executive Director Luis Oquinena during the GK Social Business Roadshow held in New York in April.
Another 34 of the 36 scheduled houses have also been built in the municipality of Hernani, Eastern Samar. Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. visited Hernani Village last December 2014. Work is set to begin on the construction of houses in Giporlos, Eastern Samar in the first half of 2015. The Municipality of Dolores in Eastern Samar, where typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) first made landfall, was chosen as the site for the fourth village.
The BASP was launched at the Philippine Center on November 26, 2013, weeks after the Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan which hit the Philippines on November 8.
Yolanda caused about 6,300 fatalities and more than 28,000 injured people. It impacted 3.4 million families or 16 million individuals in 44 provinces, 597 municipalities and 57 cities. More than 4 million people have been displaced and forced to live in 381 evacuation centers or in the homes of their relatives and friends. Typhoon Yolanda also damaged 1.1 million houses, half of them totally destroyed.
During that time, however, most of the assistance was focused on relief operations and there was a seemingly lack of focus to attend to the permanent shelter needs of the millions of the Yolanda victims. BASP was born as a response to that situation.
The Philippine Consulate General in New York floated the idea of having a BASP, which a Convenors Group, composed of volunteer leaders, readily embraced. Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. spearheaded the project with the support of five convenors namely, lawyer Ferdinand Suba, engineer Roger Alama, CPA Nimfa Dy-Tinana, Vivian Talambiras Cruz, and Zultan Bermudez, representing the younger generation.
BASP partnered with Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc. (GK) in the Philippines and the Philippine Jesuit Foundation (PJF) in New York. GK will build the permanent shelters and PJF will receive the donations and release the money to GK.
On the night that BASP was launched two days before Thanksgiving in 2013, its initial target of raising $10,000 was more than doubled. It raised $ 26,894 in actual donations ($17,525) and pledges ($9,369).
Donations for BASP poured in since that launch. Outside the Filipino-American community, the Koreans, Americans, Taiwanese, Thais, Japanese, Vietnamese and Islamic communities gave substantial donations. Cultural groups, students, schools, religious associations, social groups, charitable institutions and many individuals were among the donors.
On November 14, 2014, close to the BASP anniversary, De Leon announced “mission accomplished” for funding with a total $366,522 in gross donations or $356,639.08 in net donations to fund the construction of four Leyte villages in Hernani (36 houses), Giporlos (22 houses), Tanauan (22 houses) and Quinapondan (22 houses).
In February 2015, the total gross funds received by BASP increased to $ 374,012 or a net of $ 363,754.73 with the donations received from Simbang Gabi organizers and donations directly received by PJF. PJF has a very minimal administrative fee of 5 percent for managing the donations.
Including the JCI-NY donation, which forwarded a $5,720 donation directly to GK-USA, the total gross BASP Funds has now reached $379,732.73.
“BASP is the biggest and most organized government response team that (it partnered with) in rebuilding efforts for Typhoon Haiyan survivors,” GK Founder Tony Meloto declared.
The total amount raised was achieved with almost no overhead cost, ensuring that all of the funds went to the project and its beneficiaries, said Cruz.