Residents of Tanauan, Leyte honored the thousands of people who died during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda seven years ago in simple but solemn rites.
For Eugie Cinco, 22, the annual commemoration will always be a meaningful as it honors those who died and remember the struggles and hardships of those who had survived.
“We will never forget those who perished and sacrificed their lives.”
“Just like most people here, we lost our home. But what I’m forever grateful for, is the God-given chance to live. However, we will never forget those who perished and sacrificed their lives. This is also the time for us to remember how people around the world stood behind us as we rebuild our lives and communities,” Cinco added.
The celebration was observed with utmost simplicity due to the ongoing health crisis.
This included a Mass, a wreath-laying ceremony and blessing of the memorial grave at the town’s public plaza where hundreds of Yolanda victims are buried.
In his message, Mayor Pelagio Tecson recalled the devastating scenarios during the onslaught of Yolanda and shared the lessons learned in that challenging event that everyone must pass on to future generations.
“The Super Typhoon Yolanda seven years ago humbled all of us here. All of us were brought down to our knees. Our hardship was unimaginable, but the experience put goodness in men through the goodness and grace of God, that no matter how little we have during the time, we found a way to share a little to others,” Tecson said.
“What we have today is just borrowed from God’s grace and mercy, so we have to stay humble and always be grateful.”
“What we have today is just borrowed from God’s grace and mercy, so we have to stay humble and always be grateful. This is a lesson that we need to impart to the future generations and hopefully they will not experience that kind of difficulty we have to experience,” the mayor added.
As a simple way of giving back, he announced that the local government will extend a P200,000 cash aid to Guinobatan town in Albay, one of the areas badly-hit by Super Typhoon Rolly that ravaged the Bicol Region on Nov. 1.
“I was able to speak with their mayor and he was describing to me how bad the situation is in their town. They experienced flash flood with lahar that buried many houses. They really need help and this is our simple way of giving back to those who have extended support to us during those difficult times in 2013,” Tecson said.
Amid the ongoing health crisis, Tecson is confident that Guinobatan will also recover fast, just like what happened to Tanauan during Yolanda.
“Yolanda” (Haiyan), which struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, is considered one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, with Tacloban City as its ground zero.
The typhoon’s fury killed more than 6,000 people, displaced more than 14 million across 44 provinces, and left 1,800 missing.