The public mourned the death of five rescuers who lost their lives while conducting rescue operations in flood-hit villages in San Miguel, Bulacan, during the onslaught of Typhoon “Karding”
(International name: Noru).
The fatalities, also members of Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), include George Agustin from Calumpit, Troy Justin Agustin from Guiguinto, Marby Bartolome from Malolos, Jerson Resurreccion from Santa Maria, and Narciso Calayag Jr.
The official Facebook page of Bulacan provincial government changed its profile picture to black and white to express grief over the death of these rescuers.
“Isang madilim na kabanata sa Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Bulacan. Ilan sa ating mga kawani ang nagbuwis ng buhay sa pagnanais na magligtas ng buhay ng kanilang mga kalalawigan,” Bulacan provincial government wrote.
“Sama-sama po tayong mag-alay ng panalangin para sa kanila at sa mga pamilyang kanilang naulila,” the local government said.
“Sila ay tunay na bayani ng ating lalawigan,” it added.
“Kulang ang mga salita upang ipahayag ang aking kalungkutan sa naganap na trahedya sa ating mga kasamang rescuers,” Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando said.
“Sa ngalan ng lalawigan ng Bulacan, ako ay taus-pusong nagpapasalamat at ikinararangal ang kanilang ipinamalas na kabayanihan at matapat na pagtupad sa kanilang tungkulin, sukdulang isakripisyo ang kanilang sariling buhay.” he added.
The governor said that all the benefits from the provincial government for the rescuers, including personal financial and burial assistance, will be given to their respective families.
Bulacan PDRRMOChief Liz Mungcal was also spotted shedding tears for his fallen men, as shown in the photo and update of ABS-CBN news reporter Jeff Canoy.
This is Bulacan’s PDRRMO Chief Liz Mungcal. A staple of disaster response in the province. Someone who’s used to facing reporters to provide updates.
Today, she gave the worst one: 5 of her rescuers — people she mentored and considered family — died in the San Miguel flash flood pic.twitter.com/EkNWks4eNV
— Jeff Canoy (@jeffcanoy) September 26, 2022
Meanwhile, Bulacan Council of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers’ Facebook page also changed its profile picture and added black horizontal line.
“Pagluluksa para sa mga mandirigmang nalagas mula sa hanay ng mga tagasagip-buhay,” the Facebook page wrote.
Private individuals also paid tribute to the rescuers now dubbed the “five fallen heroes.”
“May you rest in peace mga sir, kayo ang tunay na bayani ibinigay ang sariling buhay upang makatulong sa iba, isang saludo at pagpupuri para sa inyo…prayer to your souls fallen heroes,” a Facebook user wrote.
“I know we cannot always predict what will happen, but we could’ve avoided this with a better disaster plan for these kinds of situations. Imagine saving the lives of others, but you can’t even save yours. Rest in peace to these heroes,” a Twitter user wrote.
“Thank you for saving the life of others in exchange for yours. May you all rest in peace. Your heroism will not go waste,” another wrote with a praying hand emoji.
The actual cause of the rescuers’ death is being determined, with an autopsy underway.
According to the provincial government, 5,239 were reportedly displaced by Karding in Bulacan.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, sees an average of 20 tropical storms yearly. In 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (International name: Haiyan,) one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, killed 6,300 people.