House panel approves Mt. Pinatubo holiday

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

QUEZON CITY -- The House committee on revision of laws approved Wednesday House Bill 3948, declaring June 15 of every year as a special non-working holiday for Pampanga and Angeles City.

The approval came as third district Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. presented the proposed bill before members of the committee chaired by Representative Marlyn Primicias-Agabas at the Conference Room of Mitra Building here.

Gonzales said the bill would be officially known as Mt. Pinatubo Memorial Day.


In his presentation before members of the committee, Gonzales said the declaration of the Memorial Day would give due remembrance and commemoration to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 15, 1991.

June 15 of this year marks the 20th anniversary of the eruption of the volcano that has been recognized as among the most destructive among volcanic eruptions in modern history.

"Three weeks from now, the people of Pampanga will gather and celebrate not the tragedy but the triumph that, indeed, is the more important story to tell. How the Kapampangans did it - not alone but with the help of countless people in the private sector and government, here and abroad - is the focus and theme of the celebration," Gonzales said.

PAMPANGA. Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. discusses before the House committee on revision of laws the reasons for declaring June 15 as Mt. Pinatubo Memorial Day. (Ian Ocampo Flora)

Gonzales reasoned that the spirit and lessons of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption should and must be constantly remembered, relived and celebrated as a kind of historic legacy for future generations.

"It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. And Mt. Pinatubo did just that to the people of Pampanga and Central Luzon. We have known who we are and the best part is we have found what we are made of when things get tough," Gonzales said, stressing that the event is also aimed at promoting awareness and preparedness toward disasters.

He added the holiday will give support to the celebrations being organized by local governments in Pampanga. "It will also give added luster to the celebration."

The proposed bill was approved by the committee and seconded by Representative Elpidio Barzaga.

Gonzales is confident that the bill will find no opposition in the House plenary and will be forwarded to the Senate floor for deliberation.

Gonzales said that by the next resumption of the House sessions in June, the people of Pampanga and Angeles City will enjoy the benefits of the holiday in following years to come.

In Pampanga and the City of San Fernando, grand celebrations are being prepared in commemoration of the Pinatubo eruption. The full celebration in the capital city is spearheaded by Laus Group of Companies president Levy Laus.

Angeles City will also hold its own commemorative celebration to highlight the event.

Pampanga suffered greatly from the ravages of the Pinatubo eruption, with villages and an entire town (Bacolor) left buried then in tons of lahar, leaving huge damages in life and property.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 26, 2011.

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