TACLOBAN City -- House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Friday honored the first responders that included President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte, volunteers, local and international donors for showing “malasakit” (compassion) during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) here and Region 8 six years ago.
Romualdez, who chairs the powerful House Committee on Rules, joined the 6th year commemoration of the Yolanda tragedy where he also remembered the residents who perished and cited the survivors’ resiliency.
“We thank the malasakit of all volunteers especially President Duterte who was then Davao City mayor for coming to Yolanda-hit areas and helping us,” said Romualdez who along with local officials led by Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Taclobanons paid tribute to those who have helped the city devastated by Yolanda, one of the world’s most powerful typhoons in recent history.
“Every year, we remember the affected communities and honor the memory of thousands of lives lost in the tragedy. We are eternally grateful for the heroism, kindness and generosity of so countless volunteers, donors and partners who have helped in saving lives, comforted us in our pain and grief and rebuilt our homes and communities,” said Romualdez.
“A truly borderless world has pulled us up on our feet. In what was thought to be a time of weakness, the Filipino people showed our greatest strength: our unmatched resilience and unfailing optimism that comes from our deep faith in God. Indeed, the Filipino people are truly stronger than a super-typhoon,” Romualdez stressed.
“In that time of our greatest need, the whole world embraced us and helped us rise again from the ashes and debris left by the strongest typhoon in recorded human history. Our cry for help was heard across the world and after the day that typhoon came, the world rushed to our aid to bring relief and hope in a sea of utter destruction, an outpouring of support from every race and nation,” Romualdez added.
He recalled that November 8, 2019 marked the sixth year since typhoon Yolanda devastated the Philippines, “leaving death, pain and suffering in its wake, resulting in a massive loss of property and cutting a swath of destruction across the central part of the Philippines, severely affecting parts of Eastern Visayas.”
Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, wife of Romualdez and the chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, 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 Yedda Romualdez, the former chairperson of the House Committee on Accounts during the previous 17th Congress.
“Today is a day to celebrate the last six 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,” Yedda Romualdez added.
Martin Romualdez said yesterday’s commemoration of the Yolanda tragedy is a celebration of people’s strength and resilience, phenomenal capacity to survive that could prove to be an inspiration to fellow Filipinos, adding that many of whom live amidst challenges caused by disasters and conflict.
“Six years since the strongest typhoon in recorded human history, our people remained undeterred in looking to the future with greater confidence and in rebuilding once more our homes and our lives. This day’s commemoration is a reminder to the people of Tacloban and the rest of Eastern Visayas, to the Filipino people and to the whole world to never forget what happened on November 8, 2013, to remember those who perished, to honor those who risked their lives to come to our aid and to look forward to the future with hope. From a tragedy that the world even shuddered to witness, from an unspeakable disaster that will be remembered for generations, our people have risen up again.
“November 8, 2013. We will never forget,” said Martin Romualdez.
Yesterday local officials led by Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Taclobanons lined up activities to honor the dead and celebrate hope like holy mass, wreath laying, blessings of mass graves, and markers, releasing of doves, presentation of Yolanda documentary during a program at the Tacloban Astrodome, awarding of plaque and recognition, and simultaneous lighting of candles in the city and nearby towns.