Over history, Filipinos are known for being resilient. Countless calamities, tragedies, wars, and even diseases wrecked the archipelago but the Filipino people have emerged strong and immovable, adapting to changes and continuing to thrive.
But as we dig deeper, looking at the foundation of such resiliency, on how Filipinos have managed to survive despite the struggles, there we can tell that Filipinos are one of a kind. The strength that we possess comes from the strong connection we have with the people we valued the most, the people who nurtured us, and the ones who raised us to what we are today— our family. No matter how broken we are, no matter how devastated the situation is, as long as there is family, we can able to rise.
In the middle of December 2021, this enormous strength was tested again. Hundreds of families lost their loved ones, thousands of livelihoods were destroyed and displaced houses are everywhere, this was during the onslaught of typhoon Odette in almost all the provinces of the Visayas regions including the entire island province of Siquijor.
The residents on the island were really devastated, but the resiliency of the people remained intact, persistent, and unshakeable. Everybody is engaged in helping one another, young or old, rich or poor. The cooperation and unity of the people are beyond comparison, it goes beyond the social class, religion, and even age. Little by little, the vibrant community emerges to recover.
Taking part in the recovery, On April 6, 2022, the Siquijor Police Provincial Office under the leadership of Police Colonel Robert D. Lingbawan, Acting Provincial Director, once again initiated the project dubbed “Balay Mo, Gasa Ko” (Your House, My Gift).
Aiming to help the Siquijodnons (the residents of Siquijor), Siquijor PPO created the project in August 2022, which will provide the indigent families in the province, with decent houses to live in, especially in the time of pandemic crisis, also after the typhoon.
Indigent families will be chosen by the Siquijodnon Police, to be the recipient of the project. Said office will be providing all the needed construction materials including the personnel and services with the help of the Local Government Units and other stakeholders who are supporting the advocacy of helping the less fortunate.
“Balay Mo, Gasa Ko” project successfully build 13 houses from its conception. The project’s latest beneficiary was Mr. Full T. Vega, 26 years old, jobless, he’s living with his live-in partner, residing at Barangay Bontod, Larena, Siquijor. He was chosen to be the project beneficiary after his house was totally damaged by typhoon Odette. Prior to the turn-over, the house was blessed by Rev Father Kevin Rayoso and the symbolic key was handed by Police Major Rex Ibañez, Officer-in-Charge, Larena Municipal Police Station.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Reynante D Pitpitan, the Deputy Provincial Director for Administration, Siquijor PPO, personally witnessed the said milestone together with the representatives of the stakeholders from CIX Construction owned by Engineer Cromwel Dela Cruz located at Bagacay in the same town, with the personnel from Larena MPS.
PLtCol Pitpitan in his message stressed the importance of a strong partnership between the PNP, stakeholders, and the community for the realization of projects that will ultimately address the concerns of the oppressed and less fortunate citizens.
Likewise, Police Brigadier General Roque Eduardo Vega, Regional Director, Police Regional Office 7, lauded the said initiative and the personnel of Siquijor PPO for continually immortalizing the Bayanihan spirit that is worthy to be emulated, and the very source of our strength.
Indeed, there is strength in unity—it is where the resiliency of Filipinos originates. Whatever circumstances that occur, may it be difficult and impossible to solve, as long as there are hands that are ready to help, everything is feasible.