TACLOBAN CITY, LEYTE -- Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos yesterday praised the resiliency of the "Waray-Warays" as they strive to recover from devastation during the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda.
"Talaga namang resiliency ng Waray-Waray kakaiba. Yung tao buong-buo talagang lumalaban. Standing on their feet," Marcos said after she led an earthquake drill at the Tacloban Evacuation Center as part of her early celebration of her 63rd birthday which is actually on November 12..
Around 200 Yolanda evacuees from Tacloban City participated in the earthquake drill and later sang "Happy Birthday" for Marcos. The lady governor then personally led a feeding program for the children of the evacuees.
"We are conducting earthquake drill. Ginagawa rin natin yan sa lahat ng sulok ng kapuluan. Pero para sa atin ang drill na yan ay pangkaraniwan lamang, pero here in Leyte ibang usapan yan, dahil nararamdaman natin na totoo ito at may konting kurot sa puso dahil naaalala natin ang mga nasawi," Marcos said.
Marcos then narrated that because of the lessons learned from the tragedy of Yolanda in Tacloban, Ilocos Norte was able to implement risk reduction and disaster management protocols that resulted in zero casualty when a super typhoon struck and stayed in the province for 17 hours.
"Because of the lessons dito sa Tacloban, zero casualty doon sa Ilocos dahil sa tulong dito sa Tacloban. Ito na ang benchmark sa buong mundo kasi kayo ang nagtuturo sa atin, kung hindi tayo matututo dito sayang lang ang mga kaanak natin na nawala, kailangan matututo tayo," Marcos pointed out in her speech.
"Karerin natin ang disaster preparedness. Congrats to all of you. Mabuhay ang taga-Abucay, Mabuhay ang Taclobanon, Mabuhay ang resilient na Waray Waray kasama na ako run," she added.
Marcos on the other hand noted that the country still lacks the necessary infrastructure for fishermen, coconut and rice farmers while there is a great need to push for appropriate housing and livelihood programs for the poor.
"Para sa akin, ang pinakaimportante malaman talaga kung ano pa ang ‘di pa naipapatupad. Una, magkano pa ang pera na ‘di pa nagagamit, kasi di pa tayo nakatikim ng todo. Bilyones ang natanggap natin pero nasaan?" Marcos asked.
Aside from the rehabilitation and recovery issue, Marcos also identified a secondary issue which is the identification of the fatalities that were buried in a mass grave after the devastation.
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health cited lack of funds for identifying the bodies that had to be buried in a mass grave, Marcos explained.
"So walang closure. So sana matulungan din natin sila. Kailangan malaman saan napunta ang pondo," she insisted.
Marcos earlier sought a comprehesive probe into the billions of Yolanda funds that were allegedly not downloaded by the previous administration to help the survivors.
She then led a tree-planting activity at the grounds of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) where the employees again sang a birthday song for her.