Yolanda bill okay hailed

October 16, 2019
Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez
Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez

TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez yesterday lauded the House leadership and her colleagues for the second reading approval of a proposed law declaring November 8 of every year as  “Yolanda Commemoration Day” in Eastern Visayas region.

House Bill (HB) No. 4960, which was principally authored by Romualdez and her husband, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, substituted for HB No. 3300 to also declare November 8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the Eastern Visayas.

Romualdez said the solid support extended to her measure would show the continued “malasakit” (compassion) of the House of Representatives to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda more than four years ago.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank my colleagues for their kindness and generous support in ensuring the passage of my measure,” said Romualdez, the chairperson of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children.

“Thank you again for the sheer faith, diligence and hard work,” said Yedda, a former chairperson of the House Committee on Accounts and ex-vice chairperson of the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization during the previous 17th Congress.

The Romualdez couple also cited the resilience of the people of Region 8, especially Tacloban City who were able to recover from the tragedy.

“This bill is intended to be a fitting tribute to the memory of all who died in the disaster and to salute the selflessness of all volunteers and organizations who took part and contributed in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts of the communities affected by the typhoon,” said the Romualdezes.

Under the measure, November 8 of every year shall be declared as a special non-working holiday in Tacloban City and the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Eastern Samar to commemorate the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Last 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading.

The couple noted that for the last three years, the City of Tacloban and the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Western and Eastern Samar have been observing an annual commemoration of Yolanda devastation through a local executive order.

“The pain caused by Yolanda is somewhat negated by the phenomenal opportunity to be able to build back better, given the overwhelming support that comes our way in many forms—humanitarian aid for immediate disaster relief, funding assistance for rehabilitation and recovery projects, and even technical assistance willing to be shared by experts on understanding better the disaster that hit us and preventing another one from hitting us in the future,” they said.

Super typhoon Yolanda affected 1.5 million families of whom 918,261 were displaced outright.

The former administration official figures were placed at 6,300 deaths and 1,061 missing aside from 28,689 injured.