“BE STRONG IN THE LORD” (Eph 6:10) | Pastoral Letter on the Third Anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan”
Beloved People of God:
Grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ!
1. Three years ago Super Typhoon Yolanda hit our area and many parts of the Visayas region, bringing horrific destruction on our homes, livelihood, farms, churches, chapels, government facilities, infrastructures, and others. Most of all, many lives were lost in one terror-stricken sweep. All of these we cannot and must not forget.
2. May I congratulate you all for the courage and sacrifices that you have shown in our common efforts to rise from the depths of such a tragedy. I believe it was our common faith and trust in God that gave us all the hope and the inspiration to live and move on.
3. We pray in a special way for those who are still in the process of recovery. And, without diminishing the memory of their lives, let us continue to pray for our beloved dead that they may find peace in God’s heavenly kingdom.
4. Please allow me to address the families who are still living in temporary shelters. In two or three years your temporary homes need replacements that are stronger against any possible emergency. I am deeply concerned that these shelters are built mostly of coco lumber. Seeing how obviously helpless these shelters are against another Yolanda or Ruby, I urge you to find suitable remedies to your homes that need them.
5. We all have seen how even foreigners were awed by our resilience after Yolanda. But we must all acknowledge the fact that our faith in God has made individuals, families and communities resilient in the aftermath of climate change disasters like Yolanda. Therefore, let us treasure and keep our faith burning. To do so we must live and share that faith with others. Resilience also requires us to build houses and infrastructures able to stand against super typhoons, flooding and earthquakes. Equally important, we must cultivate livelihoods and sources of income resilient to calamities, that is, we must be able to support our families despite acts of nature beyond our control.
6. There are other challenges we must hurdle together:
i. the restoration to normalcy of our ecological order;
ii. the protection and conservation of our environment;
iii. planting of trees and the greening of our surroundings;
iv. reuse and recycling of goods and products;
v. continuing and better use of renewable energy; and
vi. reduction of energy consumption through austere and simple
The third anniversary of Yolanda cannot lead us to complacency. It should and must lead us to watchfulness and preparedness marked by informed resilience. In this regard I urge everyone to be ever attentive to official news and information sources, such as PAG-ASA on crucial details as the location, path, strength and projected effects of typhoons, storm surges (tidal waves) and other calamities or emergencies. If there is no substitute to victory in war, neither is there any substitute to preparedness in any emergency.
May Mary, our Mother, intercede for our deliverance from all evil.
Yours in the Lord,
+CRISPIN B. VARQUEZ, DD
Bishop of Borongan