Espina: ‘Rebuilding, Recovering’

·5 min read

Cebu will continue to repair the damage caused by Covid-19 and Typhoon Odette. The basic thrust is “Rebuilding, Recovering!” This should be a multi-sectoral initiative.

Academe

The public and private schools continued their home-based and selective face-to-face classes with the help of the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education. Some schools, like the University of San Jose-Recoletos, reorganized the schedules of their college and graduate school classes. Some mentors of Benedicto College are helping clean up rooms and facilities. The same is true in the other schools through dynamic teamwork management.

Response

The “Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko” initiative has sustainable activities for children with cancer and related diseases. The Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry are using functional delivery systems to help their members recover. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce has its own contingency and assistance mechanisms. So with the American Chamber, the Jaycees, Lions and Rotary clubs, and a few cause-oriented groups.

In Carcar City and Argao, so many houses and beaches were damaged. Our heritage abode in Argao was heavily hit and rebuilding will take time and logistics. The program of road widening affects the situation, observed resident Dovi Espina.

Business

Tourism stakeholders like hotels, beaches and resorts are gradually recovering. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Seda Ayala Center Cebu, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, even Il Corso, are back. Laguna Garden is now open and accepting home orders. Zerenity Hotel and Suites quickly repaired minor damage, then started accepting reservations. Online businesses are recovering. The construction business stopped so contractual carpenters, masons and painters had time to repair their own houses.

Our government leaders implemented coordinated recovery and rebuilding programs. The civic and business sectors responded. Ng Khai, led by Wilson and Melanie Ng, improvised free sharing of mineral water.

Challenge

The recovery process in Cebu is sustained by dedicated doctors, nurses, volunteers and front-liners. In the midst of calamities, many like Dr. Troy Uy, son of Aida Uy, composed his own music as a tension reliever. I, too, turned to inspirational songs, and followed recovery activities through radio networks. Globe was slow in its recovery schemes. I wonder about Smart?

And Visayan Electric Company? MCWD? In many areas, the water crisis was readily solved. It is not the same with the power (Visayan Electric), with slow and selective delivery schemes due to heavy damage. But big subdivisions had their power installed early.

Projects

Zonta Club of Cebu 1 has been finalizing its cookbook which addresses nutrition and food programs. Zonta International released its new thrusts, still within the theme of women empowerment. The Cebu City Tourism Commission will have its annual beauty pageant with a purpose. Will this go on?

IBP Cebu has been very visible in its free legal services and welfare assistance to survivors of Covid and Odette. This we learned from lawyer Ria Espina.

The barangays are slowly building up their losses. The lowly families in Barangay Quiot are worried about the scheduled demolitions of their homes. My maid is clueless where they would be relocated. Homeless after Odette?

Blessing

In Bogo, people repaired their homes because they had early power restorations. The families of my household helpers rebuilt their houses. I was happy to be of help. A security guard from the Alcordo Ads received free “trapal” roofing materials. The Speechcom family shared its blessings to its staff and household helpers who needed to repair their houses.

WeCare president Ramon Sebastian shared water from his deep well in his neighborhood. Gary Muñoz, Sally Dy, Tony Veloso and Pilar Cusi sent daily prayerful messages. WeCare’s Lito Roden is still recuperating from his dialysis but has recovered from the loss of wife, Baby. Bonnie and Lydia Sia are settled in good health, and Bionics continues its operations. My colleague Nelia Neri responded quickly to help me get a household maid which I needed badly when all my helpers had to rush home to their families.

Recovery

Zontian Fina Tanchan and family are in the initial stage of recovery for their Choobi Choobi chains. It might take time for Ayala to recover fully, although Cebu IT Park, especially the Mabuhay edifice of Grand Benedicto, is already partly lit up. There are limited operations in the call centers in JY Square, whose problems include sanitation in basic places like toilets due to lack of water or janitorial services. By the way, Talisay conducted the business permit applications. Will Cebu City follow? Will Eruf resume home service booster vaccination for senior and sick residents?

The homeowners associations of various subdivisions forged efforts to help Visayan Electric Co. restore power. Some succeeded, but others are still groping in the dark, like the Park Vista townhouse in Apas. Rebuilding power and water systems is the key to recovery.

Inspiration

Text messages and calls from our friends, specifically my Josenian Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble and Amparito L. Lhuillier alumni across the globe, poured like “refreshing raindrops falling on my head.”

“In My Diary” has some poetic lines, like Shelly’s, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” After Odette and the Covid pandemic, would recovery and rebuilding come easily, and soon? The dynamics of rebuilding and recovery is a test of leadership and team cooperation. It will take time but Cebu will continue to rebuild, build and recover!

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