Leyte to emulate Baguio’s disaster resilience

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BAGUIO CITY – Leyte, particularly Tacloban City, has drawn its inspiration from the disaster resilience of Baguio City after the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake in order to cope with the devastation that it suffered during the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, Leyte 1st district Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said here Sunday.

Romualdez said he visited Baguio City first to express the gratitude of his constituents to the people of Baguio and the Cordillera for being one of the first responders in Leyte after his province was ruined by the strongest typhoon that ever hit the earth during the current century, saying that the assistance extended by government and private institutions from Baguio and Benguet were instrumental in motivating the local residents to stand up and face reality as they strive for recovery.

“My personal presence in Baguio and Benguet is a gesture of gratitude to the people who help and continue to help rebuild Leyte, especially Tacloban. We draw inspiration from what the people of Baguio had done to rise up from the ruins of the 1990 killer earthquake and we want to bring that disaster resilience to our place,” Romualdez stressed.

The Waray lawmaker disclosed Tacloban City will also try to develop its own festival that will try to emulate the Panagbenga or Baguio Flower Festival so that it will continue to bring hope to the people of the province that there is still ‘light and life at the end of the tunnel.’

According to him, the expert linemen that were able to restore power in the different Yolanda-stricken areas were from the Cordillera and that the provision of fresh vegetables to augment the food of the victims also came from Baguio and Benguet that is why reciprocating their Samaritan gesture is fulfilling in the sense that he was able to feel the concern of people as he came to Baguio.

While the government had committed to fast track the development of the Yolanda-stricken areas, Romualdez said it is the disaster relief operations and rehabilitation of numerous non-government organizations that continue to work notwithstanding the government support that seemingly come in trickles due to the bureaucratic red tape.

“To say that we are fully satisfied with the support being given by the government to the calamity-stricken areas will not be accurate. We have been receiving government support but not as extensive as what the people have expected,” Romualdez said.

He cited Leyte and Tacloban City still need help in order to fast track their recovery from the wrath of the typhoon so that people will not be desperate awaiting for the help that might come a little longer than what has been expected.

Romualdez explained the assistance to be extended by the government should transcend political boundaries because it is the lives of the people and the state of living that are being jeopardized once the administration will use politics as a gauge on how to provide assistance to the calamity victims and how to work out the development of the affected areas in order to bring back the resilience of the people.

He appealed to kind-hearted individuals and groups to continue extending assistance to the people of Leyte until such time that they will be able to fully recover from the devastation that they experienced and the blessings that they will continue to shower his constituents will return to them in greater magnitude.

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