Priest appeals for more shelters for volcano evacuees in Philippines

People displaced by the eruption of the Taal volcano attend Mass at an evacuation center in Tagaytay City, Philippines, Jan. 19, 2020. A Catholic priest has appealed for more and better shelters for victims of the volcanic eruption after criticizing a local government response. (CNS photo/Eloisa Lopez, Reuters) 

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) -- A Catholic priest has appealed for more and better shelters for victims of a volcanic eruption in the Philippines after criticizing a local government response.

Ucanews.org reported that authorities in Tagaytay, located near the erupting Taal volcano, announced they had set up private spaces for couples to be intimate.

Advertisement

Inside the rooms, where couples can spend hours together after securing permission from authorities, are a mattress and bottled water.

But Father Jerome Secillano of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Manila said better and additional evacuation centers would serve a greater purpose than "love nest" rooms.

[Don’t miss the latest news from the church and the world. Sign up for our daily newsletter.]

"We need more places to accommodate the thousands still holed up in cramped evacuation centers," said the priest, adding that the "last thing you would think about during a calamity is intimacy."

As of Jan. 22, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that nearly 72,000 families or more than 280,000 individuals were affected by the volcano. Of that number, about 39,000 families, or 149,000 individuals, were in 493 evacuation centers.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has maintained an Alert Level 4 over the volcano, meaning a "hazardous explosive eruption" is possible in hours or days.

[Want to discuss politics with other America readers? Join our Facebook discussion group, moderated by America’s writers and editors.]

Meanwhile, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, retired archbishop of Manila, expressed his gratitude to people who sent help to communities affected by the disaster, ucanews.org reported.

"We want to thank everyone for helping the evacuees," said the cardinal, noting that the spirit of "Bayanihan," or helping each other, is still very much alive among Filipinos. "It is really nice that many are visiting and helping," he said.

Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa also noted how people are still smiling despite their situation. "This is the Christian life," he said. "We will rise again."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Tucker Redding, S.J. guides listeners through contemplative prayer in this 10-part mini-series "Imagine: A Guide to Jesuit Prayer."
Tucker Redding, SJFebruary 26, 2020
We are always tempted to make faith into something that we handle, not a way by which we surrender.
Terrance KleinFebruary 26, 2020
How perfectly the prophet Joel summons us to Lent with those two adverbs: “Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.”
Terrance KleinFebruary 26, 2020
Join us throughout the Lenten season as we offer a special presentation of the Gospel, Passion and Resurrection narratives. 
Isabelle SenechalFebruary 26, 2020