A famous bible verse in Romans 8 gave me a very powerful reflection that I’d like to share to you all. “35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
I woke up today really early to go to school and on my way there, as early as 6:00 in the morning, news reports from the recent Yolanda Super typhoon has been continuous and untiring. The whole day had past, and on my way home, news reports on the radio are non-stop. This time I heard the official address of our President on their actions and plans.
According to PNoy’s official address on November 11, (translated in English) “Last Friday, Typhoon Yolanda ravaged a large part of the Visayas region. It was one of the strongest typhoons in this country’s history, if not the world’s…In spite of all this, we all witnessed the vast destruction that this typhoon wrought in Leyte and Samar. It was there where Typhoon Yolanda’s storm surges were seemingly funneled to the land, and where we saw the heaviest damage; and it is there were we are focusing aid and assistance.”
The President gives a clear picture on the gravity of the situation in our country. He said “As Yolanda battered the country, electricity and communications were lost in many areas. This affected not only the communications of those who want to ensure that their families are safe, but also the coordination of our relief efforts. For us to give the aid that is required, we need to know what is needed in each area; and we had difficulty obtaining this data. There were also a number of local governments that, because of the extent of the destruction, were paralyzed, because among those who fell victim to the storm were their own personnel and officials. Just think: we returned to a situation where information had to be spread through word-of-mouth—no TVs, cellphones, or internet; stores and establishments were closed; it was difficult to organize relief efforts. This was the root cause of the chaos that erupted in some areas.”
When I got home, I was glad I had a great personal time with the Lord, reading the Bible, I came across the verse in Romans 8 that I think is a clear message to our country today. Trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, danger, or death, cannot separate us from the love of God. I believe the Lord wants the people in Visayas, especially in Tacloban to have faith, to hold on, even in hunger, death, calamity… God is more powerful than those. It is hard to ask people to have faith, worship God or pray while experiencing what I cannot even describe—it is painful to see, and certainly devastating to experience. It is hard, but it is the most powerful “relief” because God is the ultimate RESCUER, RELIEVER, and REDEEMER. Filipinos, please be one in prayer, be one in faith for as we continuously enter the dark times, we are assured, those who believe in Jesus Christ, that “overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
As I end, I encourage everyone that HOPE is here, Christ is here, Filipinos, we are victorious—we will be victorious. Visayas will soon rise again with all our prayers and love for each other. Here my fellow Filipinos, see that Hope and Christ is here:
“In fulfillment of the requests of local officials, we sent 800 soldiers and policemen to Tacloban to restore peace and order. We have three repacking centers producing 55,000 family food packs every day; and I have already instructed Secretary Abaya of the DOTC to take charge of efforts to deliver relief goods where they are most needed.
The delivery of food, water, and medicines to the most heavily affected areas is at the head of our priorities. We have tasked barangays to deliver and distribute these vital needs; 24,000 family food packs were already distributed in Tacloban yesterday; and these efforts are centralized in the eight largest barangays there. We already have two water purification facilities, and many more are arriving, to ensure that our countrymen have safe drinking water. We are fixing the mechanisms to widen the scope of our government’s social housing program. And from our calamity funds, contingency funds, and savings, we have 18.7 billion pesos that can be used to rehabilitate areas that were devastated by this typhoon.
Aid is also arriving from other countries; 22 countries have pledged their assistance, including Indonesia, America, England, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Hungary. The private sector is also finding different ways to help our countrymen recover, such as restoring telecommunications and the supply of oil to affected areas.
At the same time, we are declaring a State of National Calamity to accelerate the efforts of government to save, to render aid, and to rehabilitate the provinces that were ravaged by Yolanda. This is important so that we can ensure control over the prices of the basic commodities and services that our countrymen will need—to avoid overpricing and hoarding of vital products. We have also approved an additional 1.1 billion pesos for the Quick Response Fund of the DSWD and the DPWH, so that they can more quickly provide the necessary support for the recovery of our countrymen who were the victims of this typhoon.
Although we recorded a low casualty count in many of the provinces through which Yolanda passed, in the areas that were seemingly swallowed up by storm surges, it cannot be denied that we witnessed massive destruction and loss of life. Like you, I also want to know what we can do to prevent similar situations in these areas in the future.
In the coming days, be assured: help will reach you faster and faster. My appeal to you all is: remaining calm, praying, cooperating with, and assisting one another are the things that will help us to rise from this calamity.” (President Aquino)