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500 pump boats for Yolanda survivors still unused

Jazmin Bonifacio
500 pump boats for Yolanda survivors still unused

Jazmin Bonifacio

DMCI donated 500 pump boats to the government, but officials fear they're already useless

PALO, Leyte – More than 500 pump boats worth P1 million ($21,300), donated by DMCI property company in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, are now in a state of ruin, local government officials said.

The boats that were meant for fishing and coastal communities in Leyte and Samar are left unused outside the offices of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO)-Leyte in Candahug, Palo.

DMCI workers finished the boats last December  2014, and the company turned them over in June this year to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional office through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

But the DILG has not picked them up for distribution to beneficiaries, according to Leyte environmental officer Ranulfo Q. Arbiol.

“I’m afraid that the  boats will not be of use already because of too much exposure to the weather,” Arbiol said.

DILG Director Pedro Noval Jr explained that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has yet to provide them with a list of beneficiaries. 

USELESS. Pump boats donated by DMCI to Eastern Visayas fisherfolk lie idle in Palo. Photo by Jazmin Bonifacio/Rappler

The project is supposed to help fishing and coastal communities in Leyte and Samar, considered among of the poorest and most affected by Yolanda.

The super typhoon, which hit Eastern Visayas in November 2013, damaged more than 30,000 boats in these two provinces, as well as fishing nets and cages.

And for more than a year now, families, mostly fishermen still living in bunkhouses and transitional shelters, have been asking for pump boats to augment their income.

“This will definitely generate employment and it will save the lives of Yolanda survivor families,” said Arbiol. But that’s assuming they can still use these boats. – 

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