Tingong Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez on Wednesday lauded efforts of the House of Representatives to support a bill declaring Nov. 8 of every year as the "Yolanda Commemoration Day" in Eastern Visayas.
Romualdez was referring to House Bill 4960 that was approved on second reading as substituted HB 3300 last September.
Romualdez and her husband, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, principally authored the bill which also declares Nov. 8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the Visayan region.
Rep. Yedda said the overwhelming support extended to her measure by the House leadership and her colleagues proved the continued “malasakit” (public service with a heart) of the chamber 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.
She thanked her fellow legislators "for the sheer faith, diligence and hard work” in pushing for the enactment of the bill. Rep. 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 from 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 Romualdezes said in the bill's explanatory note.
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 Romualdez couple said 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, 918,261 of which were outrightly displaced.
The former administration official figures were placed at 6,300 deaths and 1,061 missing aside from 28,689 injured.