By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Tingog Sinirangan partylist Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez thanked Wednesday her colleagues for approving on second reading a bill seeking to declare November 8 of every year as the “Yolanda Commemoration Day” in Eastern Visayas region.
She branded Lower Chamber’s approval of House Bill No. 4960 as her colleagues’ “continued malasakit (compassion)” for the 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,” Romualdez, who authored the bill, along with her husband, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, said.
“Thank you again for the sheer faith, diligence and hard work,” she said.
On October 2, the House of Representatives approved on second reading HB 4960 declaring November 8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the Eastern Visayas region.
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 that 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 Samar 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 partylist 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 heavily battered Eastern Visayas, killing 5, 982 people and affected 2.6 million families.
The Romualdezes said the total damage and property loss from Typhoon Yolanda was initially estimated at P571.1 billion (equivalent to 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.