By Mariela Angella Oladive
Fifty-three (53) families who were severely affected by Typhoon Egay in Pavia, Zarraga, and Iloilo City are set to receive emergency housing assistance from the National Housing Authority (NHA), as announced by Sen. Bong Go on his Facebook page last January 28.
Typhoon Egay (Doksuri) and the southwest monsoon, hitting Western Visayas in July last year, affected around 41,223 families (165,823 persons). Iloilo, including Iloilo City, accounted for 12,037 of these affected families, as reported by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) as of August 2.
The Emergency Housing Program (EHAP) by NHA will give financial assistance to the victims for the purchase of construction materials like cement, nails, roofing sheets, and more.
The senator, after the Dinagyang Ati Tribes competition at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on Sunday, personally visited and provided essential supplies to the typhoon victims who gathered at the Bakhaw Integrated School in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
Go’s office also distributed food packs, essential groceries, vitamins, face masks, shirts, and basketball and volleyball equipment to the affected families. Some individuals also received shoes, bicycles, and cellphones as part of the relief efforts.
In addition to his commitment to disaster response, the senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, also inspected the newly built Super Health Center in Brgy. Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo on the same day.
The Pavia Super Health Center, once fully operational, will cater to the medical needs of residents, especially those in remote areas.
The Super Health Center is equipped to offer primary care, consultations, database management, outpatient services, birthing, isolation facilities, diagnostic services (including X-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy services, ambulatory surgical units, eye-ear-nose-throat (EENT) services, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, and telemedicine.
Expressing gratitude to the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) in attendance, Senator Bong Go thanked them for their dedicated service. Relief assistance was also extended to these frontliners.
The senator also acknowledged the efforts of officials such as Congressman Michael B. Gorriceta, Mayor Laurence Anthony “Luigi” Gorriceta, Vice Mayor Edsel “Bibo” Gerochi, and local health officials in Pavia for their cooperation in establishing the Super Health Center in their area.
TOURIST REST AREA IN ILOILO
Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mark Lapid of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) revealed plans to establish a Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Iloilo during his visit to the city for the Dinagyang festival on January 28.
“The TRA is already in place [to rise in Iloilo]. We are just coordinating with the Local Government Units (LGUs) to determine where we will establish it. The TRA, together with Sen. Lapid is a rest area that includes a showcase of local products and an information center of the Department of Tourism (DOT),” he explained in an interview.
The TRA stands as one of the flagship programs led by DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, as part of the department’s comprehensive strategies for tourism development. The initiative is designed to address essential aspects of travel while also fostering the promotion of local culture and products.
Presently, several TRAs are already operational, and there are ambitious plans to expand this initiative to cover additional key tourist destinations.
“We have already created or, at least, inaugurated 10 early [sites]. We have [sites] in Ilocos Norte, Cebu, Palawan, Bohol, Samal Island, Bukidnon… The next phase will be in Iloilo, Boracay, Batanes, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and then Zamboanga Sibugay, Occidental Mindoro. We also already have Baguio,” Lapid expressed.
Lapid added the goal is to have a total of 20 TRAs this year, with 10 being allocated last year and the remaining 20 scheduled for establishment this year.
The TRA is deemed to enhance the travel experience for both tourists and locals, providing convenience and boosting tourism across diverse regions.