When the opportunity came for SM project engineer Jeff Paulo Villanueva to help survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” he did not hesitate to grab it.
That the chance was provided by SM Foundation Inc., the same organization that enabled him to graduate from college, made the work even lighter.
SM Foundation does not require its scholars to serve the organization in exchange for scholarships, but Villanueva was only too happy to be involved, saying that being part of the foundation’s projects has proven to be a fulfilling experience.
Villanueva is a project engineer for the SM Engineering Design and Development department and was recently tapped by SM Foundation to help in the construction of the SM Cares Villages for Yolanda survivors. He admits to being nervous in the beginning because he found himself dealing with the same people he used to submit his grades to when he was still a scholar.
“Now, I work with them all the time. That makes me very happy,” said Villanueva, who graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of the Philippines.
On Nov. 9, 2014, SM Cares turned over 200 new homes to survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda in Bogo, Northern Cebu.
A total of 1,000 homes will be built by SM in Concepcion (Iloilo), Tacloban and Ormoc (Leyte).
Villanueva said the houses, which measure about 24 square meters each with a 4.6-meter-high ceiling, were designed to be disaster resilient.
“To be disaster resilient, we used concrete slabs instead of GI sheets for the roofing to make the structure withstand 230-kilometer-per-hour winds. Also, the roof slab is interlocked with the wall structure to ensure a box-like behavior of each unit in the event of an earthquake,” Villanueva said.
“For this village, you use what is called a PlaswallTM system or a double-drywall system with concrete fill, reinforced with 12-millimeter diameter steel bars with plastic spacers to withstand strong gusts of wind and earthquakes up to magnitude 7,” Villanueva added.
Villanueva is heavily involved in other rehabilitation efforts, including the repair of the Tacloban Hospital and the building of a new school in Brgy. Polambato, Bogo City in Cebu.
“SM has given me the opportunity to improve my life and help others,” Villanueva said.
SM undertook the renovation of the main sections of the Tacloban hospital, which caters to over 221,174 residents, as well as the increase in the bed capacity and expansion of the wards.
“When you go inside the Tacloban hospital, it’s modern, it looks like a hotel, it has lounges and has a play area for kids. The Sys consider the needs of the family. Through the improved facilities, the hospital has become an environment that contributes to your wellness,” Villanueva said.
Joel Pianiar, 37, one of the survivors who got a new home in Bogo, said Christmas had come early for him and his wife, Agnes, who is about to give birth.
“This new house is indeed a blessing from SM. My baby won’t have to experience what we’ve experienced,” he said.
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