COVID-free relocation community sees bright future ahead

    In Sariaya, Quezon, a total of 86 families relocated from high-risk coastal areas to a new, disaster-resilient and sustainable housing development by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) called San Miguel-Christian Gayeta Homes. More than just a new start in life: they have also remained COVID-19 free–in large part due to the measures taken by SMC to make sure they are safe amid the pandemic.
    SMC, which has led private sector efforts to help the Philippines deal with the crisis, had put in place strict health and safety protocols, including the installation of handwashing stations, equipping guards with thermal scanners, and mandating the wearing of face masks. It also provided regular food supplies to residents to reduce their need to go to the market and risk exposure to the virus.
    “Mabuti na lang at nakalipat kami dito sa San Miguel-Gayeta Homes bago dumating yung pandemya, dahil maganda yung lugar at naalagaan kami dito,” said 38 year-old Larry Eborde, one of the early settlers in the new community.
    Eborde used to work as a tile setter in Manila, but quit his job before the lockdown to be with his family. Together with neighbors Jojit Magsino and Edin Corral, he co-owns the fish store near the village gate.
    SMC is building a total of 450 homes—all titled properties—for relocatees. The company, which is building an integrated agro-industrial zone with port facilities in the coastal area—has already completed 300 units, with the remaining 150 currently under construction.
    It started distributing the house-and-lot packages–with corresponding land titles–for free to qualified relocatees last year.
    “This village is our way of ensuring that relocatees from the coastal area will have good homes that they can pass on to their children. San Miguel has had a lot of experience building large housing communities which we’ve donated for disaster victims all over the country. We have used that experience to try to develop a comfortable, sustainable, and disaster-resilient village here—especially since the residents are coming from a danger zone,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
    Each residence at the San Miguel-Gayeta Homes has a lot area of 54 square meters, with built homes that can fit a bedroom, toilet and bathroom, kitchen, and dining area.
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    All houses are constructed using “Green Tough” (GT) panels, designed and manufactured by Fadz Design and Construction, Inc., to be far better than conventional concrete and hollow-block houses. The panels are termite-proof, sound- and heat- insulated, wind-proof, earthquake-proof and environment-friendly.

    SMC has also taken the extra step to give adult residents who did not finish high school a chance to do so, and become entrepreneurs through the government’s Alternative Learning System (ALS).
    Salve Calicoy, a 25 year-old mother of one, is working to complete her ALS education to help her husband, who works as a construction worker and a fisherman. She and other graduates are qualified to take courses at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) after finishing their secondary education.
    SMC has recently partnered with the TESDA-Quezon Provincial Office and Quezon National Agricultural School and Fadz Construction, Inc. for the establishment of a skills and livelihood training center inside the village.
    SMC, also in partnership with the Lucena City, Quezon Archdiocese, and Sariaya provincial government, is also constructing a Fisherman’s Hall near the river channel leading to the Sariaya Bay. The Fisherman’s Hall will be a safe and secure place to house the fishermen’s boats, their boat engines and fishing implements.
    Meanwhile, SMC plans to build a modern, state-of-the-art integrated agro-industrial complex that will include a brewery, a grains terminal and feedmill, a ready-to-eat food manufacturing plant, a fuel tank farm, and port facilities near the coastal area. The development is seen to bring thousands of jobs to Sariaya and beyond, and significantly boost the local economy.
    “With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is even more need to build up and strengthen local economies. That is why apart from helping government, our medical front liners, and disadvantaged communities, we have committed to continue our large-scale investments on new manufacturing capacities and infrastructure projects. This way, we can generate more jobs, livelihood, and boost local economies,” Ang explained.


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