November 8, an unforgettable day for many in the Visayas is now officially a special non-working holiday.  The House Committee on Revision of Laws approved Tuesday House Bill 4383 that sought to declare November 8 as Yolanda Commemoration Day in the region of Eastern Visayas.

The committee, led by Pangasinan Rep. Marilyn Primicias-Agabas, unanimously approved the bill that would cover not just Tacloban City but also the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Ormoc City. Leyte Congresswoman Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez filed the bill and said it’s a “fitting tribute to the memory of all who died in the disaster and to salute the selflessness of all volunteers and organizations who took part and contributed to the recovery and rehabilitation efforts of the communities affected by the typhoon.”

“Finally, when November comes, we celebrate — 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 are now in the midst of adversities caused by disasters and conflict,” The Philippine News Agency quoted the congresswoman as saying.

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The former Miss Philippines-International 1996 and wife of former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez thanked the House panel for their support and maintained her plans to build permanent homes and provide better job opportunities as well as sustainable livelihood for those who have survived the Yolanda tragedy.

Super typhoon Yolanda, also known by its international name Haiyan, struck the Leyte provinces in 2013 as one of the strongest in the world to have hit land. It affected 1.5 million families, displaced 918,261, injured 28,689 and listed 1,061 missing persons. According to official counts, the death toll reached 6,300 but experts say the figure can be much higher.

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