In the towns of Tanauan and Tacloban in the hard-hit Philippines province of Leyte, SEIU 1199 Secretary-Treasurer Maria Castaneda checked on the progress of the rehabilitation and rebuilding projects necessitated by last year's Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which was one of the strongest tropical disturbances ever recorded.
Castaneda attended the "blessing of the boats" and their turnover to a community group called the Bangon Magay Association, and visited the damaged Maribi Elementary School. The school is being rebuilt with the support of The Malaya and Tala Fund, a partner of SEIU. The school building was destroyed during the super-typhoon and students have been occupying tents as temporary learning facilities.
SEIU also donated 20 "trisikad" units to a pair of community groups in Tacloban City, Leyte. Trisikads are pedestrian cabs commonly used by Philippines travelers. The typhoon had destroyed the beneficiaries' vehicles, forcing the trisikad drivers to rent pedi-cabs for 60 pesos a day to continue their livelihood. They were earning only five pesos per ride, so the rental took a major bite from their daily income.