TACLOBAN CITY – The Romualdez and Marcos families on Thursday led here the 5th year commemoration of the super typhoon Yolanda onslaught where they honored the first responders that included President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte, donors and the dead victims and cited the survivors’ resiliency.
Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez, Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, local officals and residents paid tribute to those who have helped the city and remembered residents who perished in the tragedy.
“Today, we honor the first responders led by President Duterte and also the dead victims of super typhoon Yolanda. We pay tribute and salute the selflessness of all volunteers and organizations that took part and contributed in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts of the communities affected by the typhoon. The overwhelming support that came our way gave us comfort and hope amidst the wrath of devastation,” Mr. Romualdez, a former House Independent Bloc Leader of the 16th Congress and a three-term Leyte congressman, told the crowd during a program at the jampacked Tacloban Astrodome early Thursday evening.
For her part, Mrs. Romualdez, wife of Martin and first nominee of the Tingog Sinirangan party-list group, asked prayers for Yolanda victims, stressing they should not be forgotten as their deaths raised awareness of disaster management and prevention not only in the country, but in the entire world.
“Today is a day we will always remember. A time to remember all the lives lost, those who perished in the storm surge that swept our city. Today is a day for which we will always be grateful. A moment to thank God for all the lives saved, for all those who came to our aid,” said Mrs. Romualdez, the chairperson of the House committee on accounts.
“Today is a day to celebrate the last five years of rebuilding. An opportunity to pay tribute to our indomitable spirit and the resilience of our people. Today is a day of hope. The hope that we always had and will always have, as we move on, as we move forward,” Mrs. Romualdez added.
The Romualdez couple and Imee Marcos also joined the Yolanda commemoration in Guiuan in Eastern Samar where the monster storm made a violent landfall.
In her speech, Mayor Gonzales-Romualdez said the Yolanda tragedy is a “wake up call” regarding climate change that Filipinos should address now with dispatch.
Mr. Romualdez said Thursday’s commemoration of the Yolanda tragedy is a “celebration of the strength and resilience of our people, of our phenomenal capacity to survive that could prove to be an inspiration to our fellow Filipinos, many of which live amidst challenges caused by disasters and conflict.”
“We raise our prayers for our departed loved ones, for blessings on all dear to us, for peace in our homes and communities, and for the strength to move on and rise again,” said Mr. Romualdez.
“November 8 is a day we will never forget. We will never forget the friends and family we lost. We will never forget the pain and grief. We will always remember the courage and selflessness of those who come to our side,” he said.
“That is why every 8th of November is a date we will hold sacred, when we recall how one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded struck our home region, leaving tens of thousands of people dead and missing, millions homeless and livelihoods destroyed. It was the worst of times, the adversities we will always keep in our hearts,” said Mr. Romualdez.
The Romualdezes and Marcoses joined Taclobanons in the simultaneous lighting of candles along the city and nearby towns as a way of honoring the people who died when super typhoon Yolanda hit the country on November 8, 2013.