Bishop: Learn us learn how to kneel again

“Let us learn how to kneel once again. Successive emergencies makes it more difficult for individuals and families already struggling amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. This situation has forced us to bow our heads and fold our knees, “ says Bishop Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, DD, Bishop of Daet in an interview over the radio.

Bishop Alarcon said that as of November 16, 2020, Camarines Norte suffered a partial total damage of Php464, 885,168.00. Coastal barangays, towns and parishes in the Diocese of Daet were severely hit by Typhoon Ulysses. Most of the parishes in Camarines Norte are in the coastal areas along the Pacific Ocean. Many houses were severely destroyed, storm surges were experienced in Panganiban and Vinzons, while there was flood in Labo and Daet. Hard hit were Panganiban, Mercedes, Vinzons, Capalonga, Paracale.

Relief operations is now on-ongoing as they try to reach out and make quick response to those most in need. The diocese has received donations from NASSA, Caritas Philippines, from the dioceses of Pasig, Kalookan also Islamic Relief and from private individuals here and abroad.

Based on the data released by PDRRMC, Camarines Norte, the casualties include 5 deaths, 4 missing and 25 injured. MDRRMOs reported that 15, 348 families, 54, 621 individuals in 208 barangays were affected. Families sought sanctuary in 332 evacuation centers. 8334 houses were totally damaged and 14, 124 were partially damaged.

The diocese continues to appeal for prayers and generosity in their FB page as the Diocesan Social Action Ministry of Daet try to provide the basic needs of those severely affected. They appeal for food packs, beddings and shelter materials.

Bishop Alarcon said: “What just happened may bring the best in us or the worst in us. Amidst the devastation and suffering, look what is happening: we are witnessing many expressions of support. Many are helping on their own. Helping another person in need is also human. It is innate in us. We have the capacity to help.”

There was no reported major damage to parish churches in the diocese of Daet. Churches also became evacuation centers during typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. 100 families were accommodated at the Cathedral of the Most during typhoon Ulysses.

Looking back at the devastating experience, Bishop Alarcon said that there are two possible tendencies when something happens to us: first is to complain and to blame, second or to accept and to rise up again. “Of course we grieve because we were devastated by a super typhoon and another typhoon that arrived, lingered and caused flooding just a week after the devastation of the super typhoon and in time of pandemic. We grieve for the loss of lives, shelter, source of livelihood, agriculture, infrastructure etc. Yet we also give thanks because our life has been spared,” says Bishop Alarcon.

The bishop of Daet further reflects: “One of the gifts God has given us is the capacity to rise again. This is very human. This is innate in humans, the capacity to rise up and to get up. In our life, we experience storms. We fall, yet we are able to rise up again. We have a capacity for strength , we are able to rise up anew and also to learn lessons from the past. That is, to help one-another another as brothers and sisters.” Bishop Alarcon was interviewed in the program Casarig sa Pagbangon over Radio Caritas Mariae 98.3 FM, a Catholic Radio Station.

“Let us learn how to kneel once again. This is another lesson. The experience of the coming of a lingering strong typhoon after a super typhoon have forced us to bow our heads and fold our knees. We came to realize that even the best knowledge, best resources, power and technology crumbles. We need God’s help, we need each other, we need to hold hands so that we can rise again. For those of us who are better off, do not hesitate to extend a helping hand to those in need. Let us help as much as we can. Any little thing we can do let us put it into action so we can rebuild families, communities and rebuild ourselves, our sense of worth. We can only do this with the grace of God and pagtarabangan (helping one another), “ concludes Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon.