House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, with his wife Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, honored the brave first responders for showing “malasakit” by putting others above self during the onslaught of super typhoon “Yolanda” that flattened Eastern Visayas in November 2013.
As the nation marks today the devastation brought about by Yolanda eight years ago, the Romualdez couple also offered prayers for the victims and emphasized that they should not be forgotten since their deaths had been an eye-opener for disaster management and prevention not only in the country, but in the entire world.
The Romualdezes are among the principal authors of House Bill 5989, a measure seeking to create the Department of Disaster Resilience, which the House of Representatives on Sept. 22, 2020 voted 241 against seven with one abstention to pass on third and final reading.
The proposal remains pending in the Senate.
“Eight years ago, we, in Tacloban City and other parts of the Visayas, experienced up close the horrors brought by super typhoon ‘Yolanda.’
It is not that easy to erase those memories in our hearts and minds as well as the pain. We still grieve as we remember our fallen brothers and sisters,” Rep. Martin said.
Rep. Yedda, for her part, said there is no forgetting the pain and grief caused by the tragedy.
"We will always remember the courage and selflessness of those who come to our side,” she said.
“That is why every 8th of November is a date we will hold sacred, whenwe recall how one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, struck our home region, leaving tens of thousands of people dead and missing, millions homeless and livelihoods destroyed. It was the worst of times, the adversities we will always keep in our hearts,” she added.
The Romualdezes gave their hefty salute to all first responders, including local and international donors who selflessly and bravely answered the call to protect people and properties despite risking their own safety.
They said the people of Region VIII have remained undeterred in looking to the future with greater confidence and in rebuilding once more their homes and lives.
“What eases the pain partly is the collective effort exerted by our fellow Filipinos to help us get back on our feet. We will never forget your kindness shown to us,” the Majority Floor Leader said.
“For a moment, Filipinos have shown to the world what ’malasakit’ means to us as a people. May this trait of empathy continue to burn in our hearts as we all strive to build a better future for our people.
Muli, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat,” he added.
The party-list lawmaker thanked the volunteers, including President Rodrigo Duterte who was then Davao City mayor, for extending their help to the Yolanda victims.
She thanked the Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line of Japan) forbeing a member of the first responders in Tacloban City.
NYK Line, Japan’s biggest and oldest shipping company, donated 1,700 reams of A4 bond papers and 10 units of Fuji printers to three most densely populated schools in Leyte –- the Leyte National High School, San Jose National High School and Greendale Residences National High School.
The majority floor leader lauded the Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines for its “cash-for-work” program that employed thousands of people of Tacloban City and conducted free eye cataract operations for more than 100 patients.