By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez thanked her colleagues for their all-out support to her bill declaring November 8 of every year as Typhoon Yolanda Resiliency Day, a special non-working holiday in Eastern Visayas.
Romualdez said the passage of House Bill 6591 on third and final reading showed the chamber’s continued compassion for Yolanda victims.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thank my colleagues for their kindness and generous support in ensuring the passage of my measure,” she said. “Thank you again for the sheer faith, diligence and hard work.”
HB 6591, which substitutes House Bill 4383, and principally authored by Romualdez, was recommended for plenary approval on October 10, 2017 by the Committee on Revision of Laws.
“Finally, November when we celebrate – not the tragedy – but the strength and resilience of our people, of our phenomenal capacity to survive that could prove to be an inspiration to our fellow Filipinos, many of which lie amidst adversities caused by disasters and conflict,” Romualdez, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, said.
HB 6591 declares November 8 as a special non-working holiday in Tacloban City and provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Eastern Samar.
The bill is pending in the Senate.
“This bill seeks to honor the memory of all who perished as a result of the ferocity of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and to salute the resiliency and the selflessness of volunteers and organizations who took part and contributed to the recovery and rehabilitation of all affected communities,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez originally proposed that November 8 be declared “Yolanda Commemoration Day” and a special non-working public holiday in Eastern Visayas.
She noted that 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 for the last three years.
On November 8, 2013, Yolanda battered Eastern Visayas, killing 6,300 people and affected 1.5 million families, 918,261 of whom were displaced.
A little more than a million houses were damaged.
The total damage from Yolanda has been estimated at P571.1 billion.
“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,” Romualdez said.