After initially helping 2,000 Typhoon Odette-affected households in Bohol in April-May 2022, the Humanitarian Cash Transfer Plus (HCT Plus) program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, UNICEF Philippines, and ECPAT Philippines assisted 5,000 more families during the implementation of its second phase in July-December 2022. The continuation of the program was made possible with the support of the New Zealand Government.
Known as the strongest storm to hit the Visayas since Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) has affected over 2.5 million Filipinos, many of them coming from Bohol.
As disasters can seriously impact children’s health and nutrition, education, and exposure to different forms of violence and exploitation, the program’s one-time PHP 5,000 payout per family aims to help parents provide for their children’s essential needs in the aftermath of Odette. The program also came with learning sessions that allowed parents and children beneficiaries to better understand child rights and protection.
Learn how HCT Plus helped survivors get back on their feet:
“Being an agricultural province, many families in Bohol lost their livelihoods when Typhoon Odette devastated the Philippines in December 2021. Through HCT Plus, affected farmers like Edgardo have been able to invest in fertilizers to replant their crops. “My wife and I mainly rely on our harvests to support our five children. Aside from using the cash aid to buy fertilizers, we were also able to buy their school needs.”
From working at a daycare center to selling barbecues and cleaning products, Jessica has juggled multiple jobs to be able to support her three children after Typhoon Odette destroyed their house and disrupted her husband’s job.
“We did everything we could to start over after the typhoon but it’s been really difficult to make ends meet. I’m grateful for the cash assistance, which helped me enroll my children this school year. This will also help put food on the table and buy my children some vitamins.”
JULITA, YOUNG MOTHER
Eighteen-year-old mother Julita was thankful to have been able to afford nutritious food, medicine, and vitamins for her baby who got sick after Typhoon Odette damaged their house last year.
EUSEO, SINGLE FATHER
Being a single parent is no easy feat, more so when you have 9 children to support. When Typhoon Odette hit Bohol, 59-year-old farmer and solo father Euseo lost most of his crops of coconuts, bananas, and cassava. He recalled his kids “getting weak” during the aftermath as they lost days of proper sleep due to the destruction of their house. Food also became insufficient on a daily basis as he lost his farming income for months.
“As a single parent to 9 children, this cash assistance is of great help to my family. I will spend this on my kids’ primary needs such as food, milk, and school supplies,” said Euseo.
LOURDES, SINGLE MOTHER
Since her husband passed away many years ago, 51-year-old Lourdes has been the breadwinner of her household which includes her 93-year-old mother, and daughter who’s also a single mother to 2 children. She has made ends meet by selling rice cakes and doing laundry.
“Life became harder after Typhoon Odette. Aside from being the only provider in our family, I also have to take care of my very old mother. I’m grateful to be among the beneficiaries of the cash transfer. A big part of it will be spent on my grandchildren’s school needs,” she said.
CARLO, COLLEGE STUDENT
Losing both parents at a young age didn’t stop 21-year-old Carlo from pursuing his desire to finish his studies. With a little help from friends and relatives and a lot of determination, Carlo is currently taking his Education course as a scholar. Along with his 3 younger siblings, he made nipa roofs to cover their daily expenses – but this got disrupted when Odette hit last year.
“Life became harder after the typhoon. Our house got totally destroyed and we lived from house to house for a while – thanks to relatives who took us in. It also became difficult to acquire materials for our livelihood,” Carlo recalled.
“I use my monthly allowance [as a scholar] to provide for my siblings but it isn’t enough. [That’s why] I’m very gratified to be one of the beneficiaries [of the humanitarian cash transfer] because it will really help me when it comes to financial needs at home and as a student at school,” he added.
Carlo also expressed his appreciation for the complimentary learning session for parents and guardian beneficiaries. “They [the discussions] have indoctrinated me about how to take care of our children, how to give them their rights as a child and as a citizen of the society, ethically and socially.”
When her husband temporarily lost his job as a security guard in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette, housewife and mother Welia took cleaning jobs to make sure their four children can continue their schooling in time for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
“We’ve used almost all our earnings for our children who are currently in elementary and high school. I was so happy when I learned I will receive cash aid. This will help put food on the table and cover my children’s other needs in school.”
“I felt like a thorn has been pulled out of me when I received the payout,” said 42-year-old Melchor, a father of four from Guindulman, Bohol.
Apart from having to pay the money he borrowed to repair their house after Typhoon Odette destroyed it, he also has to regularly send money to his son in college. “Our priority is our children’s education so when I received the cash, I immediately sent him the amount he needed.”