Been there, suffered that.
And they know how it feels when nature, I all its fury, knocks you down, and succor comes painstakingly slow to the ring.
But the people of Leyte do not easily give up.
After Yolanda virtually ripped through the country’s eastern section and left it in tatters, Leytenos just dusted off, picked up the pieces, and moved on with the business of life.
They are a resilient lot.
Of course, humanitarian aid poured in shortly in the wake of the monster that was Yolanda, and they are eternally grateful for all the help from government and the private sector in the country and foreign governments, private groups, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.
Now, they want to return the gesture.
Various groups and individuals led by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez teamed up for the first Yolanda Commemorative Ride held Sunday to give back and raise funds for the survivors of Super-Typhoon Rolly.
The Romualdez couple said the event, with over 2,000 registrants, was a way of paying forward by the Warays who have also been victimized by Super-typhoon Yolanda, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, on Nov. 8, 2013.
“We organized this event not only to raise funds. We are here to show our brothers and sisters in Bicol and other areas devastated by the recent typhoon that they are not alone,” Majority Leader Romualdez said as Region VIII commemorated the 7th year of Yolanda tragedy. “We are here to stand by them and give them all the support that they need in these trying times.”
“I have no doubt that with all our support, these survivors can also rebuild their communities just like we did seven years ago. We, Filipinos, are known for our resilience. Hindi tayo kayang pabagsakin ng bagyo o anumang trahedya,” he added.
Rep. Yedda Romualdez, meuldile, stressed that just like the resilient Waraynons, the victims of Rolly, especially the Bicolanos, would rise up and emerge stronger with the help of all Filipinos.
“Like a Phoenix, we have risen from the ashes of devastation. It was not easy, but we managed to stand up and recover our ground. Thanks to friends who rushed to our aid, we were able to resume our daily lives and rebuild our communities. Salamat sa kanilang malasakit, nakabangon tayo,” Rep. Yedda Romualdez said.
“This value of malasakit prompts us today to gather anew despite the risk brought by the pandemic to be able to raise funds for our brothers and sisters who suffered the brunt of Typhoon Rolly. We have heard their cries, and we are here now ready to rush to their aid,” she added.
The SIKAD: Urusa nga Pagpitad para ha Pag-uswag (Sama-samang Paghakbang para sa Pag-unlad) was be held at the Tacloban Astrodome, in coordination with the City of Tacloban, Tacloban SK Federation, and the Region 8 Bicycle Advocacy Community.
Organizers set health protocols to ensure the safety of participants such as proper registration, temperature checks, wearing of face masks and helmet, observance of physical distancing, and disinfection.
All successful registrants also qualified for a raffle conducted after the ride.