Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Leyte solon honors youth volunteers for Tacloban

MANILA-Leyte 1st district Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez honored the youth volunteers who participated in Pope Francis’ visit to Tacloban City last January 10, and encouraged more to contribute towards nation-building.
“Despite the storm in Tacloban that day, the young men and women braved the heavy rains and helped organize the Papal visit. They were there days before the event, sacrificed their time and effort which helped ensure the success of the historic event. It is this spirit of service and volunteerism that I want to commend and to highlight. They are examples of how the youth can truly help the nation,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez also recounted how international humanitarian agencies and local groups helped Tacloban during the wake of super typhoon Yolanda.

“During the height of the disaster there was an outpouring of volunteers, a lot of them young people, who came to the city and helped Warays get back on their feet. It moved me to see countless people who donated or flew in, got their hands dirty, and helped with the rebuilding. Ordinary people with extraordinary spirits who are able to empathize with the people of Tacloban,” Romualdez added.

“Our city was devastated by a storm surge, but we also got a surge of support from all over the country and the world. It gave our people hope and a sense of solidarity. We were not abandoned, we felt like we were not alone,” Romualdez said.

Hotels in Tacloban were fully booked with humanitarian outfits reserving the slot for months. The hotel industry did not slow down after Yolanda and some new hotels in the City had to open earlier than schedule just to meet the demands. The regional tourism office, together with a local travel company started a voluntourism program to accommodate the public who wanted to be part of Tacloban’s rebuilding program.

“The effort, commitment and contribution of volunteers are priceless and cannot be quantified. These are people who extended themselves and become a man for other.  There is an intrinsic value that is associated with helping others that cannot be repaid by money,” the solon said.

Romuladez also lauded the work of the Philippine National Police (PNP) , the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Romualdez paid tribute to Kristel Mae Padasas, saying “I feel for the family of Kristel and I want to tell them that their daughter is an inspiration to many.”  He paid his respects to Padasas, who belonged to the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) volunteers for the Yolanda humanitarian Crisis. The 27-year old volunteer was from Buhi, Camarines Sur but was based in Manila before she passed away tragically.

“The untimely death of Kristel Mae Padasas in Tacloban during the visit of Pope Francis did not happen in vain. Kristel exemplified the dignity of the young who are the future of our country,” Romualdez said. Padasas died after being hit by a collapsed scaffolding used during the mass of His Holiness Pope Francis in Tacloban City.

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