TACLOBAN CITY- The leader of a group composed of survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda disclosed that they are lobbying that some of their members be included among the 30 people who will get the chance to dine with Pope Francis. Efleda Bautista, convenor of the People Surge, group of typhoon survivors, said that they hope that their appeal would be heeded by the organizers of the papal visit. “We’re hoping and we’re doing everything that we’ll have an audience with the Pope,” Bautista said. She, however, admitted that their appeal may be a long shot considering that some officials in the government brand them as “activists.” “Even here in the preparation stage in Tacloban, it seems that People Surge is excluded. So here alone, we are not expecting to be invited to see him,” Bautista added.
Earlier, Archbishop John Du of the archdiocese of Palo revealed that during his visit to Tacloban on January 17, 2015, the Holy Father will dine with 30 people. Of this lucky people, 20 of them are Yolanda survivors while five each will come from Cebu and Bohol which was hit by an earthquake. At present, the organizers have yet to divulge who will be the 30 people who will get the chance of a lifetime of joining the Holy Father for a meal. Bautista said that as part of their effort that some of their group could join with Pope Francis, they are seeking help from their friends at the Vatican. “We are trying our best to get help from our friends in the Vatican to lobby for us. We really hope that we will be included along with those Yolanda victims who will be chosen by the Bishop,” Bautista said. “Veritas has also tried that at least there will be three representatives from People Surge that can personally meet the Pope. We are just hopeful that Veritas will be successful in negotiating this,” she added. (RONALD O.REYES)