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Archbishop to gov’t: Do what justice demands for Yolanda survivors

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Palo Archbishop John Du presides over a Mass in a mass grave outside the Palo cathedral to mark the second anniversary of typhoon Yolanda on Sunday, November 8. (Eileen Ballesteros/CBCPNews)

PALO, Leyte, Nov. 8, 2015– Appealing once more to concerned government agencies in the Yolanda rehabilitation efforts, Palo Archbishop John Du voiced, “Please do what justice demands.”

Two years after Yolanda, the government continues to be under fire as many families have yet to receive the much needed assistance.

“Delaying delivery of projects denies justice to our people,” Du said in his homily during a Mass for the second anniversary of typhoon Yolanda at the mass grave built in the courtyard of the Palo Cathedral.

The prelate cannot but express dismay over the slow pace of the government’s rehabilitation efforts.

“I cannot fail to make an appeal for those people responsible for the rehabilitation, if it is true that there are still some amounts intended for rehabilitations and projects,” he said.

Archbishop Du also lamented that politics is still getting in the way and hampering Yolanda recovery efforts particularly in Leyte.

“If there is a pressing demand to act for the common good of our people, your duty is not towards your political party or personal preferences or your very own family but always give the priority to the people in need regardless of who we are,” he said.

Among the priorities, he said, should be on building permanent shelters for the thousands of people who remain homeless.

In Tacloban alone, hundreds of families in bunkhouses are already complaining over the delay of their transfer to permanent shelters.

Hundreds more are needing assistance even for temporary resettlement and livelihood.

Palo Mayor Remedios Loreto-Petilla said that among her administration is giving priority on relocation including those who will be affected by the road heightening and tide embankment project, along the 27.3-kilometer shoreline from Tacloban to Tanauan.

She also assured of non-partisan help from the local government of Palo, one of the towns in the east coast of Leyte province that were hardly hit by the typhoon on November 8, 2013.

Archbishop Du appealed on the business sector to shun “economic opportunism” which, according to him, “is unethical way of making profit especially in these critical times of need.”

He warned, “The Scriptures cannot make this clear to us, it is God who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry, upholds orphans and widows, the brings the way of the wicked to ruin.”

He also challenged Yolanda survivors who became beneficiaries of the generosity of so many people adding, “we should also be generous to one another especially those who have nothing.”

“Let us also extend and join our hands, our efforts and be one for the sake of our brothers and sisters who have not really recovered,” Archbishop Du said.

Encouraging the people, he said, “Whenever you feel tired and see that the road seems so long and endless, try to remember how far we have already recovered.”

Archbishop Du also emphasized the need for every one to heed what Pope Francis stated in his encyclical, Laudato Si.

“Never in our history that the entire world had been drawn on the more concerted action and awareness regarding our responsibility for humanity and God’s creation,” he said.

He added, “The prevalent cult of unlimited human power and technocratic paradigm for development is now properly challenged.”

Du also expressed hope that the stakeholders in the society will consider this in drafting the roadmap to social and moral recovery and for the future.

Tacloban City and others towns in Leyte and Eastern Samar also held activities on Sunday to mark the second year of the most devastating storm to hit the Philippines. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)


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