Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:46 AM | Monday, November 10th, 2014
MANILA, Philippines–For 24-year-old Ma. Lou Mendoyos, life had always been hard.
She dropped out of school in the fourth grade due to poverty, got pregnant at 17, and lost her house and everything else when Super Typhoon “Yolanda” slammed into her barangay (village) in Bogo City, Cebu, on Nov. 8, 2013.
Then, barely recovered from the typhoon, she lost her 6-month-old baby to a blood infection.
A year after Yolanda, Mendoyos lived in a makeshift wooden animal cage in a no-build zone with her two children, aged 6 and 2, and her partner Arvie Crisostomo, a tricycle driver.
But all that changed on Nov. 9, the day following the first anniversary of Yolanda’s onslaught when Mendoyos and her family became one of the first beneficiaries of a housing project of retail and property giant SM Prime through SM Cares, its corporate social responsibility arm.
The houses were turned over Sunday to the family beneficiaries at the first SM Cares Housing Village in Bogo, one of the areas hardest-hit by the strongest typhoon ever to hit land.
SM is building 1,000 houses in devastated Visayas areas for poor families displaced by the super typhoon, especially those still living in no-build zones and high-risk areas. The houses are free. The construction is made possible with the help of people who donated some P200 million to build the calamity-resistant houses.
Designed above building code and mandated standards, each house has precast walls and roofs which can withstand winds of a Category 5 typhoon.
The roofs use heat-resistant paint to lower interior temperatures and increase energy efficiency. The windows and doors have aluminum frames and PVC for high resistance to corrosion, chipping, discoloration and other severe conditions.
The village will have utilities, street lights, a community center and basketball court. Community and livelihood development programs will be conducted to make the project sustainable for the residents.
Aside from Bogo, SM Cares Housing Villages will rise in Concepcion, Iloilo, and Ormoc and Tacloban cities in Leyte. Except for Tacloban which will have 400 houses, all villages will have 200 houses.