Catbalogan prepares for 30th year commemoration of Doña Paz tragedy

Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan together with Ms. Charo Cabardo, co-chair of the Local Culture and Arts Council (LCAC), Ador Hurtado and Michael Labendia from the Office of the City Tourism, Culture, Arts and Information together with Catbaloganon sculptor, Mr. Joel Pragas later followed by City Councilor Beethoven “Bembot” Bermejo visited the Pieta Park, the only memorial of the deadliest peacetime maritime tragedy in history — the MV Doña Paz tragedy.

Scheduled to groundbreak next month is the planned renovation of the whole park just in time for the 30th year commemoration wherein a shrine is to be designed by Mr. Joel Pragas and a museum that will house related memories as well as the names of the claimed lives not just to remember the story but most importantly to remember the lessons of that part of Catbalogan’s past.

Mr. Pragas is also doing a Marian image to be erected at Barangay Mercedes in time for its 100th year fiesta celebration in 2019, in honor of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes wherein Councilor Bermejo is part of the organizing committee.

“Ini nga mga buruhaton, deri la kanan ciudad na pangobyernuhan kundi kanan bug-os nga mga Catbaloganon; sanglit pag-urusa kita para matagan hin importansya an aton gin-agian para han tiarabot nga kabubuwason”, Mayor Step shares.

It was in December 20, 1987 when MV Doña Paz on its way to Manila with most passengers from Catbaloganon and nearby municipalities in Samar and Leyte, collided with oil tanker MV Vector that resulted to an explosion, later claiming more than 4,000 lives.

Mayor Step believes that it may have been a dark and tragic part of the city’s history, we must always look back and remember in order to forward hope despite all the adversities that may come our way. Because by remembering the past, we are reflecting on the present and readying for the future.

(Photos by Paulus Aragon; Article by Ador Hurtado)

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