Pope Francis has applauded the Filipino’s resilience amid the calamities that hit the Philippines as he visits Palo and Tacloban City in Leyte island today. Incidentally, tropical storm Amang is also heading towards the general direction of Samar, Leyte’s adjoining province.
Speaking at a welcome ceremony at the Malacañang Palace on Friday morning, the Pope said his visit in the Philippines is intended particularly to express his “closeness to our brothers and sisters” who endured the suffering, loss and devastation caused by typhoon Yolanda.
Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, with Tacloban the worst hit city, leaving more than 7,000 persons dead.
“Together with many people throughout the world, I have admired the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others,” he said.
The Pope said those virtues, rooted in the hope and solida- rity instilled by Christian faith, resulted in goodness and generosity.
“In that moment of national crisis, countless people came to the aid of their neighbors in need. At great sacrifice, they gave of their time and resources, creating networks of mutual help and working for the common good,” he recalled.
Pope Francis is on the second day of a five-day pastoral and state visit to the Philippines.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) placed 12 areas in Luzon and Visayas under storm signal number 1. This includes Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Burias Island, Sorsogon, Masbate and Ticao Island in Luzon; and Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran and Leyte provinces in the Visayas.
The weather bureau also said that the storm may make a landfall in Northern Samar early Saturday evening.
In its late afternoon bulletin, Pagasa said that Amang was 475 km East of Borongan City, Eastern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph.
The agency said storm Amang continues to move westward but decelerated from 19 kph on Friday morning to 15 kph before noon.
Amang is forecast to be at 140 km Northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Saturday afternoon, 90 km East of Daet, Camarines Norte by Sunday afternoon and 135 km East of Tuguegarao City by Monday afternoon.