Malolos—Mourners filled the Bulacan Gymnasium at the Capitol grounds here as the provincial government paid tribute to the five responders who were killed during rescue operations last Sunday at the height of typhoon Karding in Brgy. Camias, San Miguel, Bulacan.
The fatalities were all members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO).
The coffins of George Agustin, Troy Justin Agustin, Marby Bartolome, and Narciso Calayag Jr. were laid side by side at the gym. Only the coffin of team leader Jerson Resurreccion was not at the venue, as the family only sent a representative to the ceremony.
Fellow responders from PDRRMOs in neighboring Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and Metro Manila also attended the “Luksang Parangal” for their fallen brothers.
The bodies of the five men, with their life vests still on, were recovered in different areas in San Miguel town.
They were deployed as early as noon of Sept. 25. As heavy rains battered San Miguel and massive flooding caused the release of water from Bustos and Bulo dams, their 6×6 truck stalled and was parked at a gas station.
The team then rode a boat to start their rescue operations in the area. It was at this point that the wall of the lube bay of the gas station collapsed due to the strong current of the adjoining river.
Andriel Mata, a helper at the gas station, said: “Bigla nalang pong nag-collapse yun pader sa likod ng washing area.”
The fast undercurrent dragged the team’s boat and eventually capsized, drowning all the rescuers.
Rep. Lorna Silverio of the 3rd District of Bulacan extolled the heroism of the five, saying their unselfish service beyond the call of duty should provide inspiration for all public servants to emulate.
Silverio also sponsored last Monday House Resolution 439, asking the national government for financial and infrastructure assistance to the towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael, and Dona Remedios Trinidad which all sustained damage due to severe flooding.