(JOURNAL NEWS) SENATOR Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla on Tuesday paid tribute to the five volunteer rescue workers who perished in the line of duty at the height of Super Typhoon Karding.
In Senate Resolution 234, Padilla lauded the heroism of Narciso Calayag Jr., Jerson Resurreccion, Marby Bartolome, George Agustin and Troy Agustin of the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
The five were helping residents of Sitio Galas in Barangay Camias, San Miguel, Bulacan evacuate their homes amid flooding caused by Karding.
Reports indicate the five died after a surge of floodwaters caused a concrete wall to collapse and bring strong water current that swept away the team aboard a lifeboat.
The remains of the five were retrieved in Sitio Banga-Banga, Barangay Camias.
“Whereas, the heroism and bravery shown by these five men, who sacrificed their lives to save their people, is an exemplary act worthy of praise and emulation and more importantly, an embodiment of dedication, courage, devotion to duty and commitment to public service,” Padilla said in his resolution.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate, as it is hereby resolved, to express profound condolences to the bereaved families of and to posthumously accord highest commendation to Narciso Calayag, Jerson Resurreccion, Marvy Bartolome, George Agustin and Troy Justin Agustin who perished while performing their heroic and solemn duties in the rescue operations at the height of Super Typhoon Karding,” he added.
Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid mourned the death of the five fallen heroes.
Under Senate Resolution No. 235, which he filed earlier September 27, Lapid honored the fatalities from the Bulacan PDRRMO.
“Lubos ko pong ikinalulungkot ang pagpanaw ng ilan sa ating mga kawani na handang nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay sa pagnanais na makatulong at makapagligtas ng kanilang kapwa. Kulang po ang salita upang maipahayag ang aking kalungkutan sa sinapit ng ating mga kasama,” Lapid lamented.
In the same resolution, Lapid recognized the courage, bravery, humanitarian spirit and selflessness of the fallen rescuers and noted that they should be held in the highest regard, paying the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty.
“Ako rin po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa kanilang ipinamalas na kabayanihan at matapat na pagtupad sa kanilang tungkulin sa ngalan ng serbisyo publiko. The ultimate sacrifice of the five PDRRMC personnel in service of their people merit the admiration, respect and gratitude not only of the persons they have saved but of the entire country as well,” Lapid expressed.
For his part, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said that it is unfortunate to hear that the casualties of Typhoon Karding happen to be personnel of the provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO) conducting rescue missions.
“Physical hazards are more prevalent and dangerous in doing their job than others,” Estrada said.
Estrada also stressed the need for better equipments and training for disaster first responders and said that the unfortunate incident should be an eye-opener on the need to consider an agency or department in charge of disaster response to oversee not only the needs of the public but the management of personnel.
“We’re hoping that the Executive Branch will take a second look at the proposed bills calling for the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) or consider pursuing an agency on this matter,” Estrada said
Estrada’s Senate Bill No. 791 includes a provision giving the proposed DDR the authority to prescribe benefits, allowances, and other similar emoluments for disaster management professionals and disaster resilience officers at the national and local levels. -PS Jun Sarmiento