September 30, 2014
By Simon Chambers
To you and me this may look like a hill top. But to Joselito SosmeÃ±a of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines and to the people of Salvacion barangay on Jinamoc Island, Philippines, this hilltop represents the future. Here, they see 100 new houses that NCCP will build over the coming months.
These houses are important because of a new law passed in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) called the “40m No Build Zone” law. What it means is that no one is supposed to build houses within 40m of the ocean. This will, in theory, reduce the damage done by storms like Haiyan, which devastated the country almost one year ago.
What it means, in practice, is that a lot of fisherfolk are without a place to live, or that they will be. The law is not yet being enforced in communities where there is no place to move people. But in some communities, fisherfolk are being asked to relocate far from the shore into the mountains.
Doesn’t really make sense for fisherfolk to live in the mountains does it? They don’t think so, either!
But NCCP has found a hilltop near the sea in Salvacion where they can build homes for these families. In exchange, the families will provide labour to help move building supplies to the site so that the skilled labourers employed by NCCP can construct the homes.
Further, NCCP will construct fishers’ barracks near the sea with lockers where the men can lock up their fishing supplies, and rooms for them to rest if they have to be at sea overnight.
It’s kind of a win-win. As an added bonus, many of the women of Salvacion have joined a Farmers Association which is using land near the hilltop to grow extra food for their families. Having the houses nearby will make that work even easier.
So call it a win-win-win.
All this from the ability to see the future…