Gordon urges Bulusan victims to recall lessons dealt by Pinatubo eruption
Sen. Richard J. Gordon called on Filipinos to reminisce the lessons taught by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the current Mt. Bulusan ordeal.
Gordon, who served as mayor of Olongapo City when Pinatubo erupted in June 1991, said that if his former constituents were able to recover from the ordeal, then the residents of Sorsogon could do the same.
"The destruction caused by Mother Nature during those fateful days in June 1991 was a big blow dealt to our safety and prosperity, but our resiliency never wavered," said Gordon on Wednesday.
"Ang mga leksyon na itinuro ng Pinatubo ay maaaring magamit natin sa mga nasalanta ng Mt. Bulusan sa Sorsogon," he added.
It may be recalled that Gordon personally spearheaded the rescue effort for 8,000 indigenous peoples in the mountains of Zambales.
The swathe of destruction of the volcanic eruption that occurred on June 15, 1991 was no joke, as it buried Olongapo City under 14 inches of ash, with lahar encasing a large portion of Central Luzon, causing massive destruction of lives and property.
When the volcanic activity subsided, Gordon immediately ordered the reopening of vital institutions such as banks and groceries, and banned price gouging.
As chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Gordon quickly mobilized the PRC Welfare Team to affected areas in Sorsogon, responding to the immediate needs of affected residents by providing thousands of hot meals, water, psychosocial first aid, and sanitation facilities.
Gordon also expressed his hopes that the government learn the lessons of history in order to positively shape the future.
"With good governance, the people will repay its leaders with trust and confidence, which will turn the cogs of industry towards success," remarked the outgoing senator.
"Kapag ang tao at ang lider ay nagsama, lalabas ang tunay na galing ng Pilipino," he added.
The destruction caused by the Pinatubo eruption, coupled by the exodus of the United States forces at Subic Bay did not hamper the rebuilding of the area.
Under Gordon's tutelage, he was able to lobby for the passage of Republic Act (RA) 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development law, which established the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
As founding chairman of the SBMA, Gordon was able to attract numerous foreign investors, creating over 200,000 jobs and generated over USD 3 billion worth of investments.
Quickly converting the abandoned US facilities into hotels, casinos, restaurants, and toher recreational facilities, Subic earned the 1994 Tourism Destination of the Year honors.