Vice President Sara Duterte spoke to residents of Eastern Samar, urging them to build disaster-resilient communities and unite against local terrorism.
Duterte, who serves as the Education chief in a concurrent capacity, delivered this message during Eastern Samar’s 57th anniversary celebration, noting the two problems beset the province.
“Owing to its geographical location, Eastern Samar faces two challenges. It is vulnerable to natural calamities and a breeding ground for insurgency,” she said on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
“And that’s two things that I want to emphasize today — our preparedness against calamities and our problem with local terrorism,” she added.
The Vice President described the province’s founding celebration as having a “profound meaning for most people of Eastern Samar — a province that continues to stand strong over the years despite its constant affair with deadly storms and its problem with insurgency.”
Easter Samar was among the badly-hit provinces of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013. It has been also a stronghold of a local rebel-armed group.
Duterte underscored the importance of cooperation among stakeholders, the government, and its people for the success of building resilient communities.
“I come from Mindanao and marami ding mga problema doon (we also have many problems there). I was born and grew up in Davao City but I think the secret to success in making a strong city, a strong province, is the unity and cooperation of the government and the citizenry,” she said in her speech.
The lady official stressed that “collective action” will help people become resilient to natural disasters, referring to having community awareness, disaster risk reduction education in schools, disaster preparedness, and efficient local warning systems.
After nearly a decade has passed since Yolanda hit, she acknowledged how Eastern Samar residents continue to grieve for their loved ones lost during the typhoon’s onslaught.
“Nine years may have passed, but the memory of Yolanda may continue to torment many residents of Eastern Samar who survived or lost their loved ones to the tragedy,” Duterte said.
“As we gather here today, may I urge everyone to remember those who died because of Yolanda and all the past calamities — both natural and human-induced, like the spree of terrorism carried out by the New People’s Army (NPA) against their fellow Filipinos, including civilians,” she told the crowd.
She also called on parents to never allow terrorist groups take on their children’s future.
“May I call on everyone to protect the security and peace of your province against local terrorist groups,” she said.