Ruby may affect preparations for Papal visit

A CATHOLIC priest said the preparations for the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Leyte might be affected once Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) makes landfall over Eastern Visayas.

Fr. Alcris Badana, rehabilitation coordinator of the Archdiocese of Palo, said they are also praying that the storm will not hit them.

“We’re praying na sana hindi na lang tumuloy, I would say it would affect the preparations (papal visit), a year ago katatama pa lang ng bagyong Yolanda, and tumatayo pa lang kami, and will all the preparations definitely it would affect, to what extend di ko pa alam, but we are doing our best as much as possible,” he said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.

Pope Francis will visit Leyte on January 17, 2015, as part of his four-day apostolic visit to the country early next year.

With this, Badana said the people of Palo are busy stocking supplies such as food and water and emergency kits in preparation for the storm's impending landfall.

“Bagamat sunny day ngayon, nagpreparare na sila, 2 days ago, namimili na ang mga tao ng emergency kit like candles, radio, flashlights at pagkain na iimbak,” he added.

Badana said that the Archdiocese of Palo is also coordinating with the local government units in preparing for medical assistance in case the need arises.

Fr. Guillermo Aluro, Social Action director of the Diocese of Calbayog, assured that they are ready in case Typhoon Ruby hit Samar province.

He noted that they implemented a preemptive evacuation in their Diocese, adding that evacuated residents will temporarily stay in churches and schools.

Meanwhile, an official of the Borongan Diocese said that several Catholic churches in Eastern Samar may not be structurally sound for evacuation.

Fr. Neil Tenefrancia, vice chair of the Borongan Diocesan Commission on Mass Media and Communications, is referring to old churches, including those in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year.

“This is our concern now because we can’t trust the physical strength of some of these churches,” he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news website.

He cited what happened to the Guiuan Church, which was reduced to rubble during the onslaught of Yolanda. (PNA)

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