The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that jolted the province of Bohol in 2013 was undeniably one of the biggest challenges faced by the Boholanos.

But according to Bohol Governor Edgardo Chatto, despite the massive problems they faced, the Boholanos still remained thankful for they never felt alone in the uphill battle of rebuilding their province.

“Immediately after the earthquake, the President was here, the cabinet was here, but it was Secretary Mar Roxas who really slept in Bohol for several nights. [He was] with me. He went around the province,” Chatto said as he recalled his memories of the 2013 disaster.

Under Roxas’ watch, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) released the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) fund, which enabled the local government of Bohol to fast forward the rehabilitation process of the province’s damaged public facilities.

A total of P2.39 billion was allocated for more than a thousand proposed repair and reconstruction projects in Bohol. Of these, 257 projects are already completed, 255 are ongoing, and 554 are being processed and reviewed by the DILG as of August 2015.

Just this year, the outgoing Secretary of the DILG inaugurated a day care center, public market, and civic center in the province.

The DILG BEA fund also allotted P23 million for the province of Cebu, which was also affected by the 2013 earthquake.

According to Chatto, who was Roxas’ partner in the fulfilment of the rehabilitation efforts in Bohol, the projects supported by the BEA fund immensely helped his province recover from the 2013 earthquake, giving the Boholanos faster access to better government services.

“We’re trying to make a change para maibsan ang kahirapan na naranasan noon,” said Chatto, who was in charge of keeping the reconstruction and repair projects in the province right on track.

Gov. Chatto also pointed out that the DILG Chief helped improve the province’s disaster response operations, which strengthened their LGU’s role as first responder in the earthquake and other disasters.

“I was so appreciative because it gave me a lot of strength, as a leader of Bohol, to get through this enormous challenge in a short period of time,” Gov. Chatto said.