By Ellson Quismorio
TACLOBAN City, Leyte — President Rodrigo Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, was among the “first responders” to the plight of locals here when super typhoon Yolanda wrought havoc on the country’s central islands five years ago.
Thus, bared Leyte 1st district Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez as she expressed again her gratitude to the volunteers as well as local and international donors who immediately came to their aid following the events of November 8, 2013.
“We thank the malasakit [compassion] of all volunteers especially President Duterte who was then the Davao City mayor for coming to Yolanda-hit areas,” said Romualdez during the 5th Yolanda commemoration anniversary Thursday.
“Thank you for the selflessness of all volunteers and organizations that took part and contributed in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts of the communities affected by the typhoon,” she added.
Romualdez expressed hopes that the international community would continue to give support to storm survivors in light of the alleged inhumane and substandard housing projects put up for them
It will be recalled that President Duterte has sought the prosecution of those allegedly involved in the housing mess.
But the Tingog Party-List 1st nominee for the 2019 midterm polls still underscored the progress achieved in “building back better” communities in the aftermath of the monster storm that was internationally know as Haiyan.
“We have to thank our Filipino and foreign friends as well as our national and local governments for their continued leadership and support in the rehabilitation efforts,” Romualdez said.
She urged the government to continue strengthening its disaster preparedness and response to climate change.
“This is why there is a need to create more durable solutions so that the human calamity that happened after typhoon Haiyan will not happen again. We need to prepare more effectively and respond more efficiently to natural disasters and other emergency
situations,” said Romualdez, wife of former House Independent Bloc Leader and three-term Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
Mr. Romualdez serves as president of both the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).
Taclobanons marked the occasion Thursday by attending the Yolanda commemoration anniversary at the 3,000-seat Tacloban Astrodome. The program was filled with song and dance numbers, with inspiring messages from local officials.
City Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez called Yolanda as Tacloban’s “wake up call” regarding Climate Change, noting the typhoon’s unusual strength that led to the deaths of thousands of people.
The local officials then led a candle-lighting activity at the mass grave in Barangay Fatima here, dotted with dozens of white crosses, and located near the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport.