ORMOC CITY – In the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez immediately plunged onto the arduous task of helping her constituents in the Fourth District of Leyte recover from the severest effects of the calamity. With many lives lost, houses and means of livelihood destroyed, Rep. Gomez was faced with the daunting task of sourcing out the funds for rehabilitation since the disaster struck at a time when the congressional discretionary funds have just been taken away by the Supreme Court.
Missing a number of session days in Congress, Rep. Gomez decided to stay put instead among the affected communities to systematize the distribution of relief assistance and other donations coming from a number of sources. Launching her “Rebuild Ormoc and Leyte 4” campaign, she came up with a website www.rebuildormoc.com to uniform all possible donors, both here and abroad, about the nature and urgency of the rehabilitation needs, the legal and orderly manner of coursing the donations, and proper accounting for each and every contribution. All of these were borne of her consciousness that the integrity of the reconstruction efforts must be maintained at all cost, and that everything was at stake to keep the donations free from any taint of irregularly. With this in mind, Rep. Gomez, together with her husband Richard Gomez, went around the entirety of the district fasttracking the release of the donations to the intended beneficiaries.
Sensing that the evacuation centers could not hold for long massive crowds of displaced people, with the ever-looming threat of hygiene and sanitation problems arising from over-congestion, Congresswoman Lucy decided to focus on the distribution of shelter kits to allow hapless constituents “rebuild” their own homes while restoring some dignity in the process. But after having bought and given away 3,000 shelter kits, funds quickly run dry.
A devout Catholic given to much prayer, the lady solon did not have to wait for long for her heavenly entreaties to be answered. An organization known as the Stone of David, led by a certain Jo Magcale, inquired from her the nature of the needs of the afflicted communities. Jo Magcale, in turn, became the conduit for the relief operations of the Oman Charitable Organization. From this three-way partnership, emanated thousands more shelter kits for the benefit of homeless citizens.
The relief assistance extended by the people and the government of Oman was more of the value-added variety. Aside from the standard components of a shelter kit consisting of 12 GI sheets with nails, hammer and handsaw, there were added three mattresses, three blankets, 3 gallons of water, a hygiene kit and three boxes of ready-to-eat food. This was not all. The Omanis also donated modern hospital equipment to the Palompon District Hospital, including a mobile x-ray machine, an ambulance and a 100 KVA generator.
In recognition of this most welcome humanitarian response, Rep. Gomez filed in Congress House Resolution No. 702, entitled “Resolution Commending and Thanking The Government and the People of Oman for the Timely and Substantial Contribution to the Relief and Rehabilitation Efforts in the Typhoon Devastated Areas of the Fourth District of Leyte Province”, specifically thanking His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the government and the people of Oman, together with the Charitable Organization, for their unprecedented benevolence towards the suffering people of the Fourth District of Leyte Province.