ORMOC CITY, Leyte — A lawmaker from Leyte province has filed a bill to commemorate the Ormoc Flash Flood, asking Congress to declare November 5 as a special, non-working holiday in this city.
Leyte 4th District Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez filed House Bill No. 4209 seeking to declare November 5 as a local holiday.
November 5, 1991 was the day when a 15-minute flash flood, spawned by Typhoon Uring, devastated Ormoc City, killing an estimated 8,000 people.
The congresswoman, who was barely 15 that time, remembers her father Manoling ushering her and siblings up to the second floor of their house when water started pouring in. They were still living at Bonifacio Street then, where the water reached as high as 12 feet.
Gomez said the bill has hurdled the committee level on August 8. The congresswoman wants the holiday to be named “Ormoc Flash Flood Memorial Day” to honor those who died in the tragedy.
In the proposed bill, the congresswoman says, “most proposed legislation seek to commemorate foundation days or charter days of localities, epochal events in our history, natal days of prominent personalities, etc. But why memorialize a ‘tragedy’?”
The congresswoman added, “Studies have persistently shown that Philippines is one of the countries in the world vulnerable to climate changes. Hence, adaptation and disaster-mitigation strategies have occupied increasing attention in government policy formulations.”
Commemorating the Flash Flood, she said, would ensure that the tragedy will be remembered and its lessons.
The congresswoman said that during the August 8 deliberation of the bill, “there was a contention that tragedies should not be celebrated. But Rep. Miro Quimbo defended all such bills dealing with commemorating tragedies by saying that if that is an argument, then we might as well scrap Rizal Day because that was when Rizal was executed.”
The congresswoman’s allies in Ormoc met the news positively.
Councilor Mario Rodriguez said, “we hope this will finally become a law to give Ormoc time to look back. A people who does not know its past will not learn its lessons.”
On the same day, Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda Romualdez’s bill asking Congress to declare November 8 as “Yolanda Commemoration Day” also hurdled the committee level.
Romualdez, during the deliberation, said that what will be celebrated on November 8 is not the tragedy “but the strength and resilience of our people, of our phenomenal capacity to survive that could prove to be an inspiration to our fellow Filipinos, many of which lie amidst adversities caused by disasters and conflict.”
If both Gomez’s and Romualdez’s proposed house bills become laws, it will be another November holiday for Ormoc as the proposed “Yolanda Commemoration Day” also includes the city. Romualdez’s proposed holiday covers the entire Eastern Visayas. Ormoc Media Hub/PNA