CLARK FREEPORT— At least 2,000 Christmas revelers formed a heart-shaped chain here on Thursday night, lit candles and prayed for hope and courage for survivors of Typhoon “Pablo” in northeastern Mindanao.
Stretching 250 meters on the parade grounds, the human chain was the second that employees of the government-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC) formed since Tropical Storm “Sendong” struck Mindanao last year, CDC executive vice president Philip Panlilio told the crowd.
Merrymakers in the fourth Clarksiyahan began giving donations but the event’s charity leg was able to raise P1 million from more than 700 CDC employees who canceled their Christmas party to pool that amount.
Panlilio said the amount raised went up to a total of P1.2 million as the CDC management gave P100,000 while the Clark Investors and Locators Association contributed another P100,000.
“In solidarity with our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao who are now struggling to rebuild their lives from the disaster, we beam our love and prayers for their safety and courage through this human chain,” he said.
Panlilio said the disaster that struck Central Luzon following the 1991 eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo and its yearly lahar flows until 1997 taught Pampanga residents the importance of helping others in need.
The P1.2 million they pooled would be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which also received the P2 million the CDC raised for Sendong survivors in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan last year.
Thursday night’s crowd was treated to a spectacle of dancing lights, care of six giant lanterns made by craftsmen in the Pampanga capital of San Fernando.
Gov. Lilia Pineda said the provincial government brought the lanterns to Clark for the second time to help promote tourism in this free port hosting an international airport. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon