Sibuyan islanders, nation's bast face
SAN FERNANDO, Sibuyan Island--This town of 22,000 that continues to cope with a double tragedy has earned praise as "the best face" of a nation.
On a flying visit here on Thursday afternoon, Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Philippine National Red Cross, lauded the town for its strength in helping respond to a tragedy in its waters and a disaster on its shores--the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars and the devastation wrought by Typhoon "Frank" inland.
"San Fernando was wide awake reporting to us what was happening [when the ship sank]. I'm here to honor you, I'm here applauding you," Gordon told some 1,000 residents who turned up for his visit at the town plaza.
"San Fernando is showing the best face of what a country should be at all times," he said.
The senator visited the town 12 days after Frank's battering waves sank the passenger vessel owned by Sulpicio Lines Inc. and destroyed homes and schools close to the shore.
"Pardon me if I wasn't able to bring relief goods here immediately...I'm very happy to see that morale is high," said Gordon, who arrived some seven hours later than scheduled because of bad weather.
During his hourlong stay, Gordon distributed Red Cross relief packs to residents and posed for pictures with them. But he stressed that his visit should not be taken as a political gimmick.
"I'm not here as a politician giving dole-outs...I'm not expecting you to give me anything in return," he said.
Gordon lauds Sibuyan islanders as nation's 'best face'
By Tarra Quismundo, Madonna Virola
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 00:26:00 07/05/2008