‘Yolanda’ 5th anniversary commemoration

Fr. Sunny Quijano blessed the gravestone at the mass grave site inside the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral compound at the 5th commemoration of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ on November 8. (ROEL T.AMAZONA)

PALO, Leyte – There is nothing wrong in development but please, do take care of our environment.
Thus said Fr. Sunny Quijano, parish priest of Our Lady of the Poor, this town, in his homily for the fifth commemorative program of the onslaught of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ on Thursday (Nov.8).
“Development is good but it should not sacrifice Mother Nature,” he said.
“Part of our sin is our destruction on the environment. That is why, we should lead in helping, cleaning and protecting it,” Quijano added.
“This is a challenge to us but we can do this by doing simple acts like picking up garbage or throwing our trash in a garbage bin and by planting more trees,” the priest said.
Yolanda has been considered to be a climate change-induced natural disaster that resulted in the deaths of more than 6,500 people and the destruction of properties worth in billions of pesos.
Fr. Quijano said that communication between humankind must not be broken to foster good relationship with each other.
“We don’t know when we are going to die that is why it is important that we always act and do good things for our brothers and sisters. It is proper for us to have good relationship with others and we do this through prayer,” he said.
Mayor Remedios ‘Matin’ Petilla led in a commemorative program held at a mass grave located inside the compound of the Palo Cathedral.
About 500 people who died due to Yolanda were buried at the said mass grave visited by Pope Francis on January 17,2015.
Relatives and friends of those who perished offered flowers and candles at the grave site.
A balloon formed as a rosary and doves were released into the air.
Mayor Petilla said that while remembering those who died due to Yolanda should continue, it’s now time to ‘move on.’
“We have to move on but we cannot put that aside, we always need to remember. I always tell the people that their departed loved ones will be at peace if they see those who survived are able to accept what happened,” Petilla said.
Around 1,050 residents of Palo died on November 8, 2013 while more than 100 residents are declared missing after the super typhoon.
Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, on his part, said that the people affected by Yolanda should sustain the recovery after the catastrophe.
“This recovery was initiated by the people who are affected by Yolanda. We need to sustain this. It was a painful experience. We were shocked and traumatized but we need to overcome it and move on. That is what we saw in our local economy, it became vibrant,” the governor said.