Residents here on Sunday paid tribute to thousands of people who perished during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda seven years ago in a simple and solemn rites.
For Eugie Cinco, 22, the annual commemoration will always be a meaningful tradition to honor those who died and remember the struggles and hardships people felt during and after the storm.
“Just like most people here, we lost our home. But what I’m forever grateful for, is the God-given chance to live. However, we will never forget those who perished and sacrificed their lives. This is also the time for us to remember how people around the world stood behind us as we rebuild our lives and communities,” he added.
The celebration was observed with utmost simplicity due to the ongoing health crisis. This includes a holy mass, a wreath-laying ceremony and blessing of the memorial grave at the town’s public plaza where hundreds of typhoon victims were buried.
In his message, Mayor Pelagio Tecson recalled the devastating scenarios during the onslaught of “Yolanda” and shared the lessons learned in that challenging event that everyone must passed on to the younger and future generation.
“The Super Typhoon Yolanda seven years ago humbled all of us here. All of us were brought down to our knees. Our hardship was unimaginable, but the experience put goodness in men through the goodness and grace of God, that no matter how little we have during the time, we found a way to share a little to others,” he said.
“What we have today are just borrowed from God’s grace and mercy, so we have to stay humble and always be grateful. This is a lesson that we need to impart to the future generations and hopefully they will not experience that kind of difficulty we have to experience,” he added.
As a simple way of giving back, Tecson announced that the local government will extend PHP200,000 financial assistance to Guinobatan town in Albay, one of the areas badly-hit by Super Typhoon Rolly that ravaged the Bicol Region on Nov. 1.
“I was able to speak with their mayor and he was describing to me how bad the situation is in their town. They experienced flash flood with lahar that buried many houses. They really need help and this our simple way of giving back to those who have extended support to us during those difficult times in 2013,” Tecson said.
With the ongoing health crisis, the official is confident that the town will also recover fast, just like what happened during “Yolanda”.
“Yolanda” (Haiyan), which struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, is considered one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, with Tacloban City as its ground zero.
The typhoon’s fury killed more than 6,000 people, displaced more than 14 million across 44 provinces, and left 1,800 missing. (PNA)