By Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-Bohol | 08:45 PM July 10, 2021
She would never have thought her luck for the day would be that much.
It was in April 17, 2021, when Carmelita J. Garcia woke up early and went to the town market to haggle for provisions the family would need.
Her husband was already out to work and in her daughter’s hut next door, she and her kids were still asleep when she left the house.
Living with husband Luciano, 63 years old, and an unmarried daughter single mother to two kids as well as another unwed child, Marcelina has inherited the ancestral house and has allowed her daughter to put up a small house close to her parent’s old house.
My mother lives with me, but she was visiting my sister’s house on that fateful day, Marcelina, 68 years old of Kalauman Poblacion Talibon, Bohol said.
“I came home that morning and saw her house razed by fire. We were just lucky no one was injured, but the fire ate up everything we kept, including our clothes,” Carmelita, who was on a sleeveless V-necked red blouse and dark grey pants recalled.
A relatively simple grandmother, Carmelita’s blouse, pants, light brown semi-open faux-leather shoes she was wearing, are all donations from neighbors and well-meaning citizens who pitied their circumstances.
She has barely enough money to pay for her way to Dauis July 9, 2021, to attend the ceremonial release of the government’s financial assistance by the National Housing Authority and Senator Bong Go, to fire victims like her.
It was accordingly an faulty electrical circuit which caused the fire, and the memories I and my sisters had with the old house is now ashes, she said, visibly controlling her lips from shaking.
The Garcia family has since lived on a 12 by 16 feet Balay sa Kabus which the family received from the private sector’s efforts.
Balay sa Kabus is a small amakan house built on semi concrete foundation, and is conventionally built without divisions, she said, adding that they would have to put up blankets to cover the makeshift bedroom and provide privacy.
“Our neighbors also helped,” Carmelita said, clearly thankful with the blessings of health.
Carmelita, along with Dominador Sitoy of Balilihan, Seigred Wabe of Balilihan and Arthur Nudalo of San Isidro, Bohol are just some of the beneficiaries of the government’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) which the NHA dispenses.
For Garcia and the rest of the beneficiaries, they are entitled to P30,000 assistance to improve whatever it is that they have transitioned to when fires gutted their houses.
“Daku na ni og ikatabang, makahimo na mi og usa ka kwarta, unya magbutang og extension nga kusina, aron modako na og dyutay ang among balay, (This is already a big help, we can construct a bedroom and put up an extension as our kitchen so would small house can have a better space inside) she humbly said.
The biggest thing, she said is that she can already pay her way home to Talibon, some 124 kilometers away.
Carmelita, whom Senator Christopher Lawrence saw in her flat shoes, called her to give her a new pair of rubber shoes, one she reluctantly put on with the senator personally assisting.
When she stood up, the envelop of EHAP cash assistance clutched tightly under her breasts, the senator again gave her a Bench wristwatch, another blessing she got, just by coming to the event.
For Carmelita and the rest who are in tight situations, sometimes when the cycle moves, a single stroke of good luck could also mean pouring of more blessings to start life’s up-cycle. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)