TACLOBAN CITY- “Keep the faith and hope that we will rise again,” so said Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez after the commemorative mass at the Tacloban City Convention Center, this city on Tuesday (Nov.8) coinciding with the 3rd anniversary of supertyphoon “Yolanda” attended by key national government officials and foreign dignitaries.
Attending the ceremony remembering the onslaught of Yolanda were former Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Rep. Yedda Romualdez, ViceMayor Jerry Yaokasin, Raymund Romualdez and formercongressmen Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Anton Lagdameo of the 2nd district of Davao del Norte.
Also joining the scores of Tacloban residents who attended the event were national officials and foreign dignitaries, namely Senator Cynthia Villar and Climate Change Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman,US acting Ambassador to the Philippines, Michael Klecheski, Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau, Bangladesh Ambassador John Gomes and a representative of the Australian Embassy.
The commemorative mass was officiated by Naval Bishop Filomeno Bactol.
According to Mayor Romualdez, the city government is concentrating its efforts on transferring Yolanda–affected families living in transitional shelters to permanent homes.
Currently, the city government has helped move 2,500 families from temporary shelters to their permanent homes at the National Housing Resettlement Project situated at North of Tacloban. Still lacking potable water amenities, the city government conducts daily rationing of water to the transferred families.
The new township is where the city government plans to transfer some 10,000 to 15,000 families living in identified danger zones in the next two years.
Tacloban North has been identified in hazard maps by the different DOST agencies as some of the safest areas in the City.
Three years after Yolanda, tourism in the city is vibrant according to Mayor Cristina; from 40 hotels before Yolanda, Tacloban now has 63.
Speaking at the commemorative program, she thanked the various international non-government organizations which contributed to the rehabilitation of Tacloban and encouraged Taclobanons to pin hopes on the City now heeding the lessons of Yolanda.
Rep. Romualdez, on the other hand, said she re-filed in the House of Representatives a proposed law authored by former senator Marcos which seeks to create a national agency that will oversee government emergency and rehabilitation efforts during a disaster.
Recalling what happened at the height of Yolanda three years ago, former Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the city government evacuated some 7,000 residents to the Astrodome which only has a total capacity of 3,500.
He also contradicted reports that the evacuation center had several casualties.
Former Mayor Romualdez and Senator Bongbong Marcos were presented with certificates of appreciation
Capping the commemorative program was the launching of the book“Legacies of Leadership Book II”, which compiled the personal narratives of Yolanda survivors. (HENRY JAMES ROCA/Tacloban City Information Office)