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Yolanda survivors’ humor is sign of something deeper – bishop

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Young Caritas Philippines volunteers from the Archdiocese of Palo, who are also super typhoon Yolanda, perform part of a roadshow they give to ?Yolanda? survivors, at the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) Summit, Cebu City, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo: Nirva Delacruz)

CEBU City, Nov. 6, 2015 – It has been observed that the Filipino spirit is as buoyant and lighthearted as the people’s religious faith is fervent. Earlier today, a Cebu bishop remembers and explains why there’s something more to Yolanda survivors’ humor.

“People who have not lost sense of humor have not lost hope..To be able to laugh at one’s situation is a sure sign of hope. They continue to have hope..in spite of those dire situations because for one, they have not have felt being abandoned,” said Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo during his welcome address at the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) Summit ongoing now at the Hotel Elizabeth, Cebu City.

According to the newly ordained prelate, the compassion of ordinary folk who had no means of massive mobilizations for relief operations did what they could for the survivors in the first few days after super typhoon Yolanda struck a huge swath of the Philippines.

Young people’s initiative

“The long line of cars, practically a convoy that stretched from Bogo to Danao, was a sure sign of people who cared and who did not just read the account in the papers,” added Villarojo.

“I read that there were young who simply gathered their resources, got provisions from their kitchens, gathered into sacks, placed them into their vehicles and off they went up north,” he said.

Concretely, the prelate remembers how after Yolanda they first saw children holding up signs that read “We need water, food”; then after while, they would see kids carrying boards with the words “We need cars, cash and condominiums”.

Dark and light sides

Delving into deeper into this contagious, upbeat nature of Pinoys, he, however, noted how disaster of course reveals the dark side of people.

“Disaster do not always bring out the best in people. Sometimes they bring out the worst… Sometimes they begin to loot department stores, houses and others.”

Villarojo is quick to note that despite this reality, goodness naturally resides in people’s hearts.

“They (disasters) bring out the best when in the first place because there was already something in good in them to begin with..You cannot bring out the best when there is nothing good.What makes it possible for the best to be brought out there is because in our hearts there is already [something good]: faith hope and caritas.”

Gathering of partners

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action ((CBCP NASSA)/Caritas Philippines organized the first ever CMDRR as part of the 2nd year commemoration of super typhoon Yolanda themed “Faith, Hope, and Caritas.”

The event gathered representatives from Caritas Internationalis member organizations who supported relief and rehabilitation work such as:

  • Caritas UK (CAFOD)
  • Caritas Spain
  • Caritas Austria
  • Caritas USA (Catholic Relief Services)
  • Caritas Germany
  • Caritas Italiana
  • Caritas Switzerland
  • Caritas Czech
  • Caritas Netherlands (Cordaid)
  • Caritas Canada (Development & Peace)
  • Caritas Belgium
  • Caritas Luxembourg
  • CHARIS Singapore

(Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)


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