21st Ormoc flashflood commemoration drives SK to advocate environment
To pay respect to the victims of Ormoc City flash flood in November 5, 1991, the local government unit of Ormoc City remembers the tragic event through a procession from the new city hall passing through the river walk,and a holy mass at the mass grave in the public cemetery on the morning of November 5.
The city’s SK Federation Chairman Corrine Corro headed the event that Mayor Eric Codilla sees the need to involve the youths of playing a role in preserving the environment and for them to personally learn from the “horse’s mouth” — from the adults who had the actual experience are still alive.
The city officials and employees offered fresh flowers, white balloons and lighted candles at the mass grave after the mass. Former city mayor Eufrocino “Dodong” Codilla, Sr. and his wife graced the occasion, being among the first persons to lend a hand to the victims in 1991. The Ormocanons see the former three-termer Ormoc City mayor and former 4th Leyte congressman as a redeemer when he brought progress to Ormoc during his terms that started in 1992.
On his 9th anniversary speech for the flood commemoration, Mayor Codilla bared that he and his wife Jingjing nearly
became victims of the flash flood as it occurred that morning minutes after they crossed the Anilao bridge that was cut into halves by the logs carried by the strong flood. Mayor Codilla said he was driving home to Mejia Subd. from their ancestral house in Codilla’s Enterprises located at the heart of the city almost noon time of November 5, 1991, when at the Anilao bridge some people waved their hands that at first he did not understand the signal and later he realized cautioning them to stop.
As he forced to head home, exactly at the Anilao River he met and whistled a friend riding another vehicle towards the opposite direction. It was then, he continued, that he saw people kept on screaming for help being carried by the strong current of the river as the floods had started and thanked he did not stop because just minutes later, the bulk of brownish water hit the city.
It was later on that day when his father, former Mayor and Cong. Dodong, visited him and broke the news saying the city was devastated after the flash flood caused by typhoon Uring. His father also brought the news that his auntie, the mother of Hon. Bingo Capahi perished when their house in Bonifacio Street was hit by a container van. It was only then when he realized that what he saw at the river was already the start of the flood that killed many people and damaged millions worth of properties. It took ten days to restore the city’s electricity, he added.
Most of the SK members were not yet born during the flood so Mayor Codilla had to brief them on the tales, being the flood commemoration chairman, so these youths can have an overview of the disastrous experience most Ormocanons would never forget. But Mayor Codilla said God probably had it for a reason because not long after the catastrophe, assistance to the city rained from all over the world. Since then, the city’s economy boomed and the disaster became part of what is Ormoc City today.
SK Federation Chairman Corro, on the other hand, assured that through their help no similar incident will happen again in Ormoc although the 1991 tragedy unlocked several opportunities that brought much development to the city. Given the insights she said the youths will do their best to advocate on the environment. In fact, after the commemoration the SK proceeded to Brgy. Macabug near the city slaughterhouse to plant trees. (Elvie Roman-Roa)
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