STORY #1 “TACLOBAN”
HOUSE independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Martin
Romualdez assured the public yesterday that, rain or shine, Tacloban City is prepared to welcome Pope Francis this Saturday, adding that theFilipinos’ faith in God will not allow tropical depression Amang to disrupt the historic Holy Mass and other activities there.
“Rain or shine and with or without (the) typhoon, we will be there forPope Francis. Nothing can stop us,” said Romualdez, referring to thelow pressure area (LPA) that intensified into a tropical storm and threatening to bring rains and gusty winds, especially in areas to be visited by Pope Francis this week, including Tacloban City.
Romualdez emphasized that nothing can stop Leytenos from welcoming Pope Francis and participating in the Holy Mass and other activities that he is scheduled to celebrate.
“More than ever, we need the prayers and blessings of Pope Francis. We still have a long way to go before we fully recover from super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ and there’s still no clear end in sight to our sufferings,” said Romualdez.
Romualdez added that he and other local officials are now finalizing preparations to shield and protect residents and other devotees from the rains in case a typhoon indeed strikes during the Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis, saying, “I appeal to my fellow Leytenos to prepare their raincoats, jackets or anything else they can to protect themselves (with) in case the rains fall. If possible, I urge those who have extra to share with those who have nothing.”
The Leyte lawmaker also called on the people not to be discouraged by the reported possible typhoon from participating in papal visit activities.
“Pope Francis must see for himself and hear from us the true
situation. This would be the best way for His Holiness to pray to God for our needs and salvation,” Romualdez added.
Yolanda pulverized the Visayan region on November 8, 2013, killing some 6,300 people with 1,060 still others missing, and damaging P25-billion worth of properties and public structures.
Pope Francis will visit Leyte on January 17 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., where he is scheduled to hold a Holy Mass at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport upon his arrival there at 10 a.m. before joining a lunch with some of the Yolanda survivors at 12:45 pm.
Romualdez and his cousin Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla, and Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla will be the four local officials who have been given the rare privilege of welcoming Pope Francis by the Palo archdiocese. While in Leyte, he will also bless the Pope Francis for the Poor and meet with priests, women and men from religious group, seminarians, and
families of the survivors at the Cathedral of Palo before leaving for Manila.
The Pope will arrive at Villamor Air base at 5:45 p.m. this Thursday and meet President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, authorities, and members of diplomatic corps in the morning of January 16. Also, on January 16, the Pope will hold a Holy Mass with the bishops, priests, women and men of religious group at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, and meet poor families at the Mall of Asia Arena.
On January 18, he will have a brief meeting with the religious leaders of the Philippines at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila at 9:45 a.m., then meet the youth at the Sports Field of UST at 10:30 a.m., and hold a Holy Mass at the Rizal Park in Manila at 3:30 p.m. before leaving the country on January 19.(RPP)