By Charissa Luci-Atienza
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez urged on Wednesday the Senate leadership to shepherd the immediate approval of a bill declaring November 8 of every year as the “Yolanda Commemoration Day” in Eastern Visayas.
The principal authors of House Bill No. 4960 appealed to the Senate to pass the measure as the nation marks the sixth anniversary of the Yolanda devastation today, November 8.
“We appeal to the honorable members of the Senate to also pass this measure that is very important to us,” they said..
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading HB 4690 on Monday.
“Despite so much progress that has been achieved in building back our communities even better, we are still mourning for those who perished,” the Romualdezes said.
They took the opportunity to thank the House leadership for approving the measure which declares November 8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the Eastern Visayas.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank our colleagues for their kindness and generous support in ensuring the passage of the measure,” they said.
“Thank you again for the sheer faith, diligence, and hard work,” they added.
HB 4960 substituted HB 3300, which was principally authored by the Romualdezes.
“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,” they said.
Under HB 4960, 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 and Eastern Samar to commemorate the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
During the previous 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading. It was principally authored by former Leyte first-district Rep. and now Tingog Sinirangan party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez.
The Romualdezes noted 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.
On November 8, 2013, Super typhoon Yolanda battered Eastern Visayas, killing 5, 982 people and affecting 2.6 million families.
The Romualdezes said the total damage and property loss from Typhoon Yolanda was initially estimated at P571.1 billion (US$12.9 billion).
“The impact of the strongest typhoon in recorded history was most heavily felt by the economic and social sectors, which together sustained nearly 93 percent of the total damage and loss,” they said.