The Humanitarian Cash Transfer Plus program by UNICEF, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and ECPAT Philippines provided P5000 financial aid to over 2000 typhoon Odette-affected families in Bohol. The first batch of distribution took place in the municipalities of Tubigon and San Isidro from April-May 2022. Learn how this helped rebuild lives and supported parents in providing for their children’s essential needs.
“I couldn’t hold back my tears when I saw our house and surroundings after the onslaught of typhoon Odette,” said Alberto Magalso, 44, a father of five from Pinayagan Sur, Tubigon, Bohol.
Alberto has long been making a living out of selling candles in churches. Before the typhoon, he earned a thousand pesos a week, which he said was barely enough to sustain his family’s daily needs.
To compensate for his meager income, he planted vegetables in their backyard so they can always have access to food. Unfortunately, along with their home, it also got wiped out by #Odette.
“I had never seen a typhoon that strong in my life. When we got back from the evacuation center, there was no electricity, no water. Our house was shattered.”
Even though Alberto has slowly got back to making candles weeks after the typhoon, his sales have significantly gone down. “I couldn’t help but think about what would happen to my children’s future.”
Through the Humanitarian Cash Transfer Plus program, Alberto received financial aid which helped him and his children get back on their feet.
“This was such a big help to my family. I used the money to buy food and school supplies for my children since face-to-face classes have resumed in our area. I’m so grateful,” said Alberto.
Since typhoon Odette struck their house last December 2021, 52-year-old mother Ivy has always been worried about her seven children.
“We no longer have a decent place to sleep at. Every time it rains, water would pour down inside because our roof has been damaged.”
The resumption of face-to-face classes at a very difficult time has also added to her burden. With her husband’s farming also disrupted by the typhoon, she didn’t know how she would be able to buy her children’s school needs.
“I wouldn’t forget when my children asked me, what would happen to us now? As a mother, it hurts to see my children anxious like that,” Ivy recalled.
When she received the cash aid in April 2022, Ivy’s burden was eased. “My prayer has been answered. I used the money to buy all my children’s school supplies, new clothes, and shoes. It at least relieved them of worries about our situation,” she said.
Mother Cherry Mie, 26, along with her husband and 2 kids has been living with her parents in San Isidro, Bohol since they couldn’t afford a home of their own just yet.
With her husband, a glass store worker, as the sole breadwinner of their household of 6, Cherry has always had a hard time making ends meet for their family. “My parents are too old to work and I have to take care of the kids so we have no choice but to rely on my husband. Whatever we do, what he earns is just never enough, especially for our children’s needs.”
Exacerbating their condition was the onslaught of typhoon Odette last December 2021 as it struck and damaged their house.
“We had been enduring the discomfort for months. Rain would pour down the roof and it will be all wet inside. It made me have a hard time breastfeeding my younger child,” she said.
With the help of the P5000 cash aid, Cherry Mie was able to repair their roof and buy her children nutritious food, milk, and toys. “I’m so thankful for this assistance and I hope you can help more families,” she said.
When the typhoon coincided with her husband’s job loss as a debt collector for a motor company, mother Cristine Pecolados struggled to provide for their three girls’ daily needs. That’s why when she learned that her family was among the beneficiaries of the Humanitarian Cash Transfer Plus program, she was overjoyed. “I jumped up and down when our Brgy. Kagawad told us! I’m so thankful to finally be able to buy my children nutritious food, new clothes, and vitamins”.
Like many of the survivors, mother Esmeralda’s house got destroyed by the typhoon. When her family received the humanitarian cash assistance, she and her kids immediately agreed to use it to buy a roof for the house that they’ve been trying to rebuild. She also spent the rest of the money on her three children’s school supplies.
When Odette wiped out Virginia’s crops in December 2021, she lost her income which covered her grandkids’ daily needs. Through the humanitarian cash assistance, she’s been able to put up a small sari-sari store by her house in San Isidro. The cash aid also helped her buy her grandchildren nutritious food and school supplies. “I dream for them to finish their studies and find a good profession in the future,” wished grandma Virginia.
“It’s painful and difficult to see my kids suffer but I need to be strong for them,” said 36-year-old single mother Cecilia from Tubigon.
Without any source of livelihood and support from the father of her three children, she has only relied on whatever assistance they can get from the government. When she received the P5000 cash aid for her children, she utilized it for their food and school supplies for the upcoming face-to-face classes. “I’m so thankful because even just for a while, I will surely be able to put food on the table. I hope you’ll be able to help more solo parents,” said Cecilia.