Aquino thanks Robredo rescuers, disaster 'heroes'-A A +A
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday led the awarding ceremonies of the "Bakas Parangal" in Camp Aguinaldo with an expression of gratitude to 308 modern day heroes who "selflessly" served their fellowmen in times of need.
The Chief Executive thanked all the awardees for responding for help immediately even beyond the call of their duty.
"Nagpamalas kayo ng di matatawarang dedikasyon at katapangan sa pagtulong sa mga kababayan nating nalugmok sa mga nagdaang kalamidad at trahedya [You have shown sheer dedication and courage to help our countrymen who were victims of the recent calamities and tragedies]," the President said.
"Taos-puso po akong nagpapasalamat at tumatanaw ng utang ng loob sa inyong kabayanihan [I am grateful for your heroism]," he added.
Aquino personally conferred the Bakas Parangal ng Kagitingan, the third category of the awards, to 36 individuals, including those who helped in the search and rescue operations for the late Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and to those who assisted the victims of the southwest monsoon rains.
The Bakas Parangal ng Kagitingan is given to individuals who "exhibited extraordinary acts of bravery by extending assistance to those in need in times of disaster beyond the call of duty."
Among those who received the awards were navy and volunteer divers who retrieved the bodies of Robredo and pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, days after their Piper Seneca plane crashed off the waters of Masbate last August 18.
Danny Brumbach, the German volunteer diver who suffered from decompression sickness while conducting the search operations, was also feted.
Other recipients include members of the Air Force 505th Search and Rescue Group, Army Special Forces divers, Bicol Scuba Technical Diving Group, Bureau of Fire Protection-Bicol Region Special Rescue Unit, Coast Guard Special Operation Unit Bicol, Masbate Police Provincial Office, the Malapascua divers, and the Philippine National Police maritime divers.
"Sampu ng sambayanang Pilipino, sumasaludo ako sa alay ninyong sigasig at kagitingan [On behalf of the entire Filipino nation, I salute your perseverance and valour]," Aquino told the awardees who were involved in the search operations.
Two army soldiers, Elmer Abo and Sammy Bersabe, also received the Bakas Parangal ng Kagitingan for rescuing nine persons on board a rescue boat that capsized in Quezon City during the onslaught of the southwest monsoon last August.
Meanwhile, the second category of the awards or the Bakas Parangal ng Kabayanihan is given to the leader of a unit or group that "exhibited exemplary acts of heroism beyond their call of duty."
Among the 172 conferred with this award were Major General Eduardo del Rosario, the head of Task Force Kalihim, and local government officials led by Joshur Judd Lanete, mayor of Placer, Masbate.
The Bakas Parangal ng Kadakilaan, the first category of the awards, was given to 100 individuals belonging to units or groups and organizations who participated in rescue efforts despite the difficult situations.
Aquino urged all the awardees, who he described as individuals who did not think of any reward in return, to continue their heroic service to the people.
According to the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), "Bakas," which roughly means "imprint," is an acronym of the words "Bayaning Likas" (Natural Hero).
The NDRMMC said the Bakas Parangal awards are given to individuals with "exemplary and extraordinary acts of selflessness in reaching out to those who are in urgent need of assistance in times of calamities and disasters."
NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos said the awards would serve as a reminder that the selfless acts during times of need would not remain unrecognized.
Ramos added that the awardees did not just save lives, they changed lives. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani)