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Albay bishop: Rise from ruins, rebuild

“Rise from the ruins and rebuild again,” Bishop Joel “Bong” Z. Baylon has urged the typhoon stricken communities of Bicol as the region was hit by five successive typhoons in a span of less than a month recently.

“Admittedly, it is not easy – almost impossible – to explain why these things happened. We cannot fathom the will of God nor understand his mysterious ways. But as Albayanos we have known disasters all our lives – from volcanic eruptions to super-typhoons, from heavy flooding to landslides,” the prelate said.

“So in our hearts we know that every storm passes, every disaster ends, and the sun shines again filling our destroyed homes and battered lives with new hope and a firm resolve to rise from the ruins and build again,” the soft-spoken bishop of the Diocese of Legazpi said in a pastoral letter issued on Friday evening (Nov. 20). Baylon also urged the Bicolanos to reach out to each other in this challenging times, to be communities of caring and sharing, of mutual trust and living faith once again here in the middle of complex disasters.

“As we have done in the past, let us reach out to each other, knowing that there are those who are suffering more than we are, who have greater needs more than we do.

Let our cities, towns, barangays, parishes, neighborhoods and especially our families once again be communities of caring and sharing, of mutual trust and living faith. For we know that God, even when He seemed silent or absent at times, seemingly indifferent to our misery and deaf to our cries, never abandoned us.

And so here we are again, survivors of yet another disaster, called to do what we have always done in the past: filled with faith and trust in a God who does not abandon us, to rise, rebuild and move on,” Baylon’s pastoral letter said.

“Hand in hand let us walk along the path of renewal and rebirth. With one heart and one voice let us lift up our hopes and prayers to the Father that He may teach us to live according to His will, proclaiming His love which fuels all our efforts and makes everything possible. Through the intercession of our Mother of Salvation may He make our common efforts fruitful and lead us to a new dawn!” Baylon added.

Earlier, the prelate of Legazpi pleaded for “ayuda” (aid) to help the severely affected communities of five typhoons such as Pepito, Quinta, Rolly, Tonyo and Ulysses.

The provinces of Catanduanes and Albay were badly hit by super Typhoon “Rolly.” Two other typhoons, “Quinta” and “Ulysses” left substantial destructions in the region.

The Diocese of Legazpi aims to build resilient housing for the homeless.

“Let us rebuild totally and critically-damaged houses by super typhoon-affected communities. Our target is to serve at least 10 percent of survivor families with totally-damaged houses. This means more than 2,200 households in Albay will receive P 5,000 worth of shelter materials. Shelter components may vary depending on beneficiary communities’ needs and preferences, price fluctuation, and aid partners capacity and preferences,” Baylon said.

“Why this type of shelter assistance? P 5,000 worth of shelter materials may not be enough to build an entire house, but are crucial to supporting poor families in rebuilding their small homes, enabling them to bounce back faster in the aftermath of the super typhoon. This is our contribution to our local communities’ resiliency,” he said.

To help the homeless rebuild their houses, the diocese launched the online donation drive after the occurrence of “Rolly.” Cash donations can be sent online thru GCash, PayMaya, PayPal, and our BPI, BDO, and PNB accounts.

Currently the immediate needs of the typhoon stricken communities are food, water, shelter materials, kitchen utensils, and Covid-19 hygiene kits.

“We no longer recommend used clothing donation since even now supply is already more than what’s needed. Connect with SAC Legazpi and we’ll help you match your capacity with the needs of various typhoon-affected communities,” the church official here said.

The Diocese of Legazpi is continuously providing relief assistance to typhoon-affected communities in Albay province.

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