House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez of Leyte and Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez on Thursday appealed to the Senate leadership for the swift passage of a bill declaring Nov. 8 of every year as the “Yolanda Commemoration Day” in Eastern Visayas.
The Romualdez couple, principal authors of House Bill 4960 or the Yolanda Commemoration Day, issued the appeal as the nation commemorates this Friday the 6th anniversary of Super Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ (Haiyan).
“We appeal to the honorable members of the Senate to also pass this measure that is very important to us,” the Romualdez couple said after the House of Representatives approved the measure on third reading with an overwhelming votes of 213 last Monday HB No. 4960 or the “Yolanda Commemoration Day” in Eastern Visayas.
“Despite so much progress that has been achieved in building back our communities even better, we are still mourning for those who perished,” they said on the devastation of Yolanda, one of the world’s most powerful typhoons in recent history.
They also lauded the House leadership headed by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and their colleagues for the immediate approval of a proposed law declaring November 8 of every year as the “Yolanda Commemoration Day” in the Eastern Visayas region.
HB 4960 substituted HB No. 3300 to also declare November 8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the Eastern Visayas.
The Romualdez couple said that the solid support extended to their measure would show the continued “malasakit” (compassion) of the House of Representatives to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda exactly six years ago this Friday.
“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.”
The Romualdez couple also cited the resilience of the people from Region 8, especially Tacloban City who were able to recover from the tragedy.
“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 the measure, 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.
Last 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading.
The couple noted that for the past 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.
Super typhoon Yolanda affected 1.5 million families of whom 918,261 were outright displaced.
Despite questions, the previous administration official figures were placed at 6,300 deaths and 1,061 missing aside from 28,689 injured.