Storm victims in Capiz attend holy Mass, asked not to lose hope
ROXAS CITY, Capiz, Philippines — A week after the typhoon, residents here, most of them forced to live under makeshift tents after losing their homes, turned to faith amid devastation.
“Yes, there are a lot who came in today than usual,” Catholic priest Michael Vasquez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after officiating an early morning Sunday Mass at the Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral in this city.
“After all, it’s to God we all turn to,” he said.
Roxas City was among the worse-hit areas in Capiz by “supertyphoon Yolanda,” displacing 23,035 families (130,368 persons) and destroying 98,438 houses in this city alone.
But Vasquez said that unlike the strong typhoons experienced here in the early 1980s, Roxas City suffered less fatalities this time, with only six persons recorded by the Capiz provincial disaster risk reduction management council (PDRRMC).
“They learned the lesson… to save their lives rather than their material possessions,” Vasquez said.
Rogina, 25, who lost her home in the coastal village of Baybay, came carrying her two-month-old son and admitted it was her first time to hear Mass again after several months.
“I prayed to God to help us,” she said in Filipino.
Jun Anomis, 19, who has been selling cigarettes and candies outside the Cathedral, said their house too was leveled by the storm.
Used tarpaulins gathered from storm debris now served as his family’s roof and walls, he said.
Vasquez, in his homily delivered in mixed Hiligaynon and English, asked the people not to lose hope.
He also reminded others not to take advantage of the calamity by raising prices of vital commodities, such as gasoline.
The price of gasoline sold in smaller stores here rose to P60 to P70 per liter days after the typhoon, noted the priest.
Vasquez, whose own house was also damaged in the storm, said that as he was going around the city immediately after Yolanda had passed, he heard a neighbor called out, “don’t lose hope.”
“I heard from the radio that priests could deliver messages of hope to the victims and I am just using this opportunity to do that,” Vasquez said in his homily.
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