CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Laus Group founder and chairman Levy P. Laus, a leading light in the difficult struggle to save Pampanga from lahar devastation in the aftermath of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, has lauded the observance of the historic event's 24th anniversary on Monday.

“It think it is but fitting and proper that the Kapampangans devote this day in observing that fateful day because it is a source of inspiration and gratitude for all of us, especially those who gave themselves to the collective effort to save our province, and for those who have lived to see the result of that effort,” Laus said.

Governor Lilia Pineda suspended work in government offices and classes in both public and private schools through Executive Order No. 06-2015 as part of the observance.

“I look at it as a prelude to a bigger celebration during the 25th anniversary next year,” said Laus, who spearheaded the Save San Fernando Movement, a group of local businessmen and political leaders determined to save this city and the province from lahar inundation.

The group's pivotal role in the struggle is celebrated in a coffee table book written collaboratively by local journalists in 2008 titled “Pinatubo: Triumph of the Kapampangan Spirit.”

It was published by the San Fernando Pampanga Heritage Foundation, Inc.

He said the observance has brought greater awareness and consciousness among the people, particularly children, on the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and its impact in the lives of Kapampangans.

He said that one of his grandchildren had asked him about the Pinatubo observance following the announcement of today's suspension of work and classes by the governor.

“At the very least, its observance is a tacit admission of the realities of natural disasters and the importance of preparedness,” he said.

This reality, he said, is again brought to fore by the recent warning against a possible earthquake of great magnitude that could be triggered by the West Valley Fault.

“Whether it is about the Pinatubo eruption or the West Valley Fault, the message is we should be prepared,” Laus said.

Laus commended the Kapampangans for their unity during a huge adversity triggered by the Pinatubo calamity.

“We have always been united during such times and risen to the occasion as one people when needed,” he said. “We have so many unsung heroes."

The Pinatubo experience, he said, is a big part of his personal and corporate life and public engagement as a business leader and advocate in Pampanga and Central Luzon.

“I feel like there is a shared legacy in that sense,” Laus said. (NCS)