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Yolanda victims await Francis

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2015 - 12:00am

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Pilgrims who will attend the open air mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis here today were advised to brace for rains spawned by Tropical Storm Amang.

Despite the rain, hundreds of mass attendees started lining up outside the perimeter area at the apron of Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport as early as yesterday afternoon.

Fr. Amadeo Alvero, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Palo, said they prepared over a million ponchos to be distributed to the devotees who would attend mass.

Alvero said the papal mass would likely push through despite the threat of stormy weather.

Earlier, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II also expressed confidence that the papal trip to Tacloban and Palo town would push through as the pontiff’s primary objective in visiting the country is to meet with survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

On Thursday, workers at the Tacloban airport dug shallow canals around the stage where the pope will celebrate mass.

“We have also dug a water impounding area,” said Department of Public Works and Highways Region 8 director Rolando Asis.

The official said that they have also prepared six pumps to flush out floodwater in case of accumulation today.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez gave assurance that local officials are ready for any risks to the pope’s safety during his activities today in Tacloban and Palo.

“Whether it’s the possible effects of Amang or threats to the pope’s safety, we are prepared for everything,” Romualdez said.

Pope will pray for Yolanda survivors

Leytenos will join Pope Francis in praying for the immediate and total recovery of survivors of Yolanda and other major calamities like the intensity 7.2 earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu in October 2013.

They will also appeal to the pope to pray for the safety and protection of all Filipinos against future calamities.

 

International aide group Oxfam welcomed Pope Francis’ statement that climate change is a wake-up call for world leaders to act with urgency and forge a comprehensive action to deal with it.

“We have seen it over the past year with Typhoons Haiyan (Yolanda) and Hagupit (Ruby). The growing frequency and strength of typhoons are having disproportionate impacts on the poorest people in the Philippines and around the world. Global leaders must act with urgency to forge a comprehensive deal on climate change,” said Oxfam country director Justin Morgan.

It will not be the first time for Sister Josefina Fernando of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to see Pope Francis when she attends a meeting with the religious at Palo Metropolitan Cathedral later this afternoon.

Last year, she was part of a group who attended a papal audience in Vatican City. But she said meeting Pope Francis here in the Philippines would be a different experience. She noted that the pope’s visit to Leyte is encouraging for those who are helping victims of calamities.

“It really shows that he cares for us,” Fernando, whose order is spearheading a housing project for Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Tanauan town, told The STAR in Filipino.With Paolo Romero, Lalaine Jimenea, Jose Rodel Clapano

 

AMADEO ALVERO ARCHDIOCESE OF PALO BOHOL AND CEBU DANIEL Z DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS REGION FERDINAND MARTIN ROMUALDEZ POPE POPE FRANCIS TACLOBAN AND PALO YOLANDA
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