Friday, August 10, 2012

Monsoon Flood and Drops of Heroism

They were helplessly stranded at Batangas Port for more than 48 hours but did not backed-out and instead bravely crossed raging floods of Occidental Mindoro at the height of the torrential rains that brought by southwest monsoon and made most part of the country submerged in water. Minding not their loved ones that they left behind, they proceeded to their mission of delivering relief goods intended for the calamity-stricken communities of Sablayan from the Office of the Vice President or the OVP. Earlier, LGU-Sablayan’s Local Chief Executive wrote a letter to Vice President Jejomar C. Binay requesting for relief assistance for those affected in our town’s flood-prone areas. It was August 1 when they left Manila but due to strong winds and other problems, all the Ro-Ro trips bound from Batangas to Abra de Ilog and vice-versa, were all cancelled. The OVP Relief Operations Team utilizes an ambulance and a privately-owned delivery truck along with 3 other personnel from a private company for the relief mission.

Ro-Ro trip going to Abra de Ilog finally resumed but only light vehicles are allowed to board. Only the ambulance and those people inside it,- Ms. Jocelyn B. Besana, Assistant Team Leader; Venusa C. Hernandez, Team Leader; and Ronell A. Caballero and Cesar P. Bartolome, initially made it to our province. The closed van or delivery truck containing relief goods was left in Batangas scheduled to travel via Calapan route. Hungry and tired, they are almost vegetable-like when they reached Sablayan.

The following day, news broke out that the delivery truck fell from a ravine in Magsaysay town. Alex G. Luriz, Virgie D. Baldonasa and Benjie C. Dian, on August 3 were rushed to the San Jose District Hospital. The accident happened at around 4:00 am in a curved and sloping national road in Sitio Bunga, Brgy. Nicolas in Magsaysay. Lucky enough, they just suffered minor wounds and bruises and already sent back by their company to their home base. Told you, heroism is about risking your limbs for a humanitarian cause. Allow me to add, maybe God allows suffering to happen in order for us to share to ease the sufferings of our neighbors.

The OVP Team then went to San Jose and also extended temporary assistance to some 300 families who evacuated from Brgy. San Agustin. Local politicians from both camps crowded them obviously for partisan credit-grabbing purposes. Those politicians want to be identified with the OVP but the team proceeded at their own.

Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano the other day recommended to Sablayan’s Local Legislative Board to commend the Magsaysay Police Station and Police Senior Inspector Gerald Florendo Bendillo, SPO1 Alexander Relopez Garcia, SPO1 Carlo Tadeo de la Cruz, PO3 Eddie Boy Ramos de la Cruz, PO3 Bonifacio Alotencio Tacuyo, PO3 Helberto Cañete Perol, PO3 Cresanto Duran Muñoz and PO3 Jake Golong Maliwat for immediately responding to the situation. The PNP men helped to unload thousands of relief goods,- foodstuffs and blankets.

Ma’am Jocelyn even spent her _th birthday in Occidental Mindoro while Metro-Manila and all nearby provinces are all water. To make something out nice out of the ugly predicament, Mayor Gadiano’s Executive Assistant, Bongbong B. Marquez, threw a little birthday party for her where cake and spaghetti are served. The celebration was held at the Mayor’s Office and was extended later that day with a couple of Tanduay Ice at LandManz Hotel. In the middle of the celebration, they received a ring from their boss, ASEC Rosalie Licauco, telling them to proceed to Sta. Cruz and Mamburao for another round of relief mission. Licauco is OVP’s Asec for Administration and Finance. Their more than 2 weeks stay in Occidental Mindoro has to be extended for sure while the other teams that were deployed in other provinces have already returned “to barracks”, so to speak. But these memories would surely make them come back for that same reason or another.

The following day, their ambulance is again back on the hellish road of Occidental Mindoro, somehow making the presence of the OVP felt by the flood victims.

A one hell of the road that would take heroes and heroines to tread…

(Photo: File LGU-Sablayan)

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