For 38-year-old Larry Eborde, San Miguel-Christian Gayeta Homes in Sariaya, Quezon, is heaven-sent.
“Mabuti na lang at nakalipat kami dito sa San Miguel-Gayeta Homes bago dumating ‘yung pandemya, dahil maganda yung lugar at naalagaan kami dito,” he says. Larry is one of the early settlers in the new community developed by San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
He 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, Larry co-owns a fish store near the village gate. (Read: This Group of PWDs in Zambales Is in Need of Your Help)
Prior to the move, Larry and his family lived along the coastal area, which was classified as a hazard zone as it exposed settlers not only to the elements but also to flooding or inundation caused by the high tides.
San Miguel-Christian Gayeta Homes
A total of 86 families have been relocated from high-risk coastal areas to the new disaster-resilient and sustainable housing development built by SMC. Now, families like Larry’s have properties under their names. The house-and-lot packages, which have corresponding land titles, were distributed to qualified relocatees last year for free.
Each house in the development has a lot area of 54 square meters—each home can fit a bedroom, toilet and bathroom, kitchen, and dining area. Moreover, all houses used “Green Tough” panels, which are 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.
Aside from the free property, families are assured of their safety and security amid the pandemic.
The 5.4-hectare development has strict health and safety protocols. It has handwashing stations, with guards with thermal scanners. All residents are mandated to wear face masks. Families are also provided with regular food supplies, reducing the need to go to the market and risk exposure to the virus. (Read: 3 Secrets to Protect Yourself From Viruses In Crowded Places)
The community, which was built following Housing Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) standards, has its own overhead water tank with 136,000-liter capacity, a dedicated sewage treatment plant made of natural reed beds, a multi-purpose hall, park, daycare center, and clinic.
The new community is within easy reach of schools (Castanas National High School and Castanas Elementary School), local government centers, services, and business opportunities.
Full support from the local government and the Church
“Napaka swerte ng Sariaya dahil sa sa pagdating ng San Miguel. Hiniling ko kay Boss Ramon Ang na walang babayaran ang mga dapat lumipat sa subdivision. Nagpapasalamat ako ng sobra sobra sa tulong na ito ng San Miguel sa aking mga kababayan,” said Sariaya Mayor Marcelo Gayeta.
Fr. Raphael Tolentino, parish priest of the Niña Maria Church in Barangay Castañas, is also backing the project.
“Ang simbahan ay hindi against sa development. Salamat sa pag unawa at pagbibigay ng konsiderasyon sa mga tao. Napakaganda kung magtatayo dito ang San Miguel na mag-aangat sa antas ng buhay at kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan na may pagkalinga sa kalikasan,“he said. (Read: San Miguel to Build Hubs Where Farmers Can Sell Produce Free of Charge)
Lucena Bishop Mel Rey Uy also expressed appreciation to Mr. Ang’s help to boost Sariaya’s economy. “Ipinaaabot ko kay RSA ang aming pasasalamat. Napakabuti nya. Sana pamarisan ng ibang negosyante si Mr. Ang. May malasakit at di pasakit,” Bishop Uy said.
SMC President Ramon Ang said that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need to build up and strengthen local economies.
“That is why apart from helping the 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.