TACLOBAN CITY — Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez expressed his deep gratitude to Pope Francis on Saturday for blessing his constituents during the Holy Mass here and hoped that his “personal touch” to express love and compassion to the super typhoon “Yolanda” survivors will further expedite ongoing efforts to rebuild the devastated areas.
The Mass was celebrated in front of a crowd of pilgrims estimated at 150,000 amid heavy rains and strong winds brought about by tropical storm “Amang” at the apron of the Daniel Z. Romualdez International Airport (Tacloban Airport).
“We thank the Pope for bringing and sharing God’s big blessing with us. His Holiness comes at a time when we as a nation are going through one of the most trying and difficult times in our history. The prayers he sent to us were immeasurable help for our needs and salvation,” Romualdez said.
“So far, this is the best relief and reward to all of us here that God’s representative personally came and visited Tacloban City to comfort and assure that our Lord is here with us,” he added.
The Leyte lawmaker noted that the primary reason for Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines was to personally comfort the survivors of “Yolanda” — the most powerful cyclone to ever hit land wherein Tacloban City was the hardest-hit area.
“Yolanda” battered the Visayan region on Nov. 8, 2013, killing some 6,300 people and damaging PhP25-billion worth of properties and public structures.
“We should remember that Pope Francis’ historic five-day visit to the country is mainly to extend love and compassion for the Yolanda survivors,” Romualdez said.
He expressed high hopes that the Pope’s visit, no matter how short it was due to worsening weather conditions brought about by storm “Amang,” would spur ongoing rehabilitation work.
“We are hoping that the papal visit would further expedite the rehabilitation of Yolanda-stricken areas. The country has been at the center of focus of the international community once again,” Romualdez said.