Tuguegarao prelate makes urgent appeal after ‘Ompong’
Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio L. Utleg JESUS TAQUIQUI
“The lashing winds tore down many homes, its residents are now rendered homeless. The need is urgent. The need is great. We write in their behalf. We appeal for their sakes.”
With these words, Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio L. Utleg issued a heartfelt appeal in a circular issued Sept. 18 in behalf of the survivors of typhoon “Ompong” (international name “Mangkhut”).
“Barely two years ago, Cagayan and her people were prostrate in the wake of typhoon ‘Lawin’. We prayed hard that never again would such a devastation be visited on us. But Super Typhoon Ompong just ravaged our province,” lamented Utleg.
Nevertheless, the prelate rallied the faithful, noting that the disaster may have spiritual benefits for the local Church. He said: “In spite of the fact that the typhoon left us poorer, less certain about the future, less secure about prosperity, but strong, perhaps stronger yet, in our faith!”
According to Utleg, despite knowing that generous donors abroad will help, he would like to appeal first to Catholics in the archdiocese.
“Please help them (the people) rise again. Please help them believe in the future. Please assure them that there is a loving Father who, in the midst of the woes of his children, comforts them in the hollow of his hands,” said the archbishop, addressing the clergy and church workers.
He also gave priests the final say in deciding whether or not they will open their parishes as relief centers. Utleg noted that the archdiocese’s resources are meager, but the needs of the people are also “overwhelming.”
Utleg also noted that while “Ompong” was “harsh, merciless, and cruel”, he reminded the faithful that Jesus came “to transform the harshness of reality into a resplendent manifestation of his love.”
“We his Church must truly be his presence in these dire circumstances,” he stressed.
Most urgent needs
Fr Gerry Perez, vicar general of the Archdiocese and parish priest of St. Joseph Parish in San Jose, Baggao – the town which suffered the most damage from the typhoon in the province, according to the assessment of Department of National Defense (DND) secretary Delfin Lorenzana – said that the area’s most urgent needs are food, clothing, medicine, and building materials.
“The reconstruction of our Catholic schools comes next in the order of priorities,” he added.
The drop-off point for donations is the Social Action Center at the Archbishop’s Residence, Rizal St., Tuguegarao City, tel. no. (078) 844-1663, cp# 0916 6060 7346/ 0906 594 7831, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cash donations may be deposited to:
- Account Name: Roman Catholic Bishop of Tugeugarao
Metrobank Savings Account # 103-3-10359509-7 or
- PNB Savings Account # 228810145036, or
Account Name: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tugeugarao
- BPI Savings Account # 8543-0723-71
The Vicar General advised parish priests and donors to contact the Archdiocesan Social Action director Fr. Andy Semana at +639175008146 for the proper distribution of relief goods.