This is exactly what a priest did when he traveled by motorbike for three days from Samar to Manila to directly appeal to the public for help in behalf of far-flung towns and parishes ravaged by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’.
“What I thought was, people need to know about our situation and people will only know about it if I leave this place…I cannot just go back to my parish, resentful and depressed,” Fr. Edgar Abucejo, parish priest of Matarinao, Salcedo in Eastern Samar, said after seeing the destruction wreaked by ‘Yolanda’ on his town, Guiuan, and other nearby municipalities.
‘Adopt a parish’
Abucejo, who drove through unrecognizably destroyed towns for three days, stopping over only to sleep in barangay halls or refugee centers along the way, appealed to the public in an interview with CBCP Media to “adopt a parish” and recognize the urgency of ‘Yolanda’ victims’ needs for food and water in small towns that are not as publicized as Tacloban City or Ormoc. A website has been created for this purpose that may be accessed at www.adoptaparish.org.
Despite not-so-common challenges like running out of gasoline in Marabot; encountering fuel prices of P210 per liter; getting his license confiscated after making a wrong turn on the South Luzon Expressway, he recognized God’s divine guidance in fulfilling his mission of speeding up relief response for Eastern Samar.
“I did not feel tired; I did not feel sleepy during the trip; I did not get hungry even if I didn’t really get to eat or rest enough. It was all the grace of God. He was the one guiding me; I believe that this was His will,” he said, describing his journey that started on Sunday night, November 10 and ended on Tuesday night, November 12.
Surprisingly, Abucejo said, he felt “prepared” to do what he did, “without intentionally preparing for it or even planning for it.”
According to Abucejo, towns like General Mac Arthur, Mercedes, Balangiga, Llorente, Giporlos were similary devastated by ‘Yolanda’.
“All the municipalities, not just Tacloban that is often seen on TV, but also the far-off barangays facing the Pacific…Almost all the towns, just multiply the destruction,” he added. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]