AMID the daily grind, how many would step out of their comfort zone when faced with an opportunity to perform a good deed? No politics, no recognition, no reward money; just a selfless act of kindness.
Josel Molina is one such rare individual who proves that modern-day heroes still exist. He began his workday in October 2008 like any other: driving for a catering company in Pampanga. En route to a customer, he chanced upon a severely injured road-accident victim.
Molina, even though he was running late, did not hesitate to bring the victim to the nearest hospital. This almost cost Molina his job because he ended up delivering the food late and the disgruntled customer wanted to file a lawsuit against the catering company.
“I knew there was that risk of losing my job but helping this person was important to me. If I hadn’t been there, this person may not be alive today. That makes it all worthwhile,” narrated Molina.
Molina is one of the nominees of Goodyear Philippines’ Bayani ng Kalsada (BNK) program, a nationwide search for Filipino drivers who have exhibited heroic acts of courage, sacrifice and extraordinary selflessness in keeping others safe on the road. Now in its fourth consecutive year, BNK hopes to inspire Filipino drivers, by way of example, to become more responsible motorists and help make Philippine roads safer.
Also nominated alongside Molina are other noteworthy personalities.
In the midst of the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy and the mudslide that devastated Pampanga, several modern-day heroes such as Marvin Dayrit and Marco V. Sarmiento, rose to the occasion, selflessly assisting in the rescue efforts. Dayrit, an employee of the Local Government Unit in Pampanga was stationed at the first aid booth in Villa del Sol.
However, instead of staying in the tent, he insisted on taking his jeep to roam the streets in search of people who needed medical attention. Thanks to him, several people were brought to the nearest hospital.
Meanwhile, Sarmiento was among the brave men who risked his life rescuing families affected by the landslide. He was driving to the office when he got a call, and did not waste a minute in detouring to the disaster area.
Ahriz Tizon, a co-worker who nominated Molina, shared that he was moved to nominate Molina because he believed that the country needed to celebrate more heroes, especially in light of the devastating natural calamities that happened in 2009.
“Sa panahon ngayon, parang bihira ka nang makarinig ng kwento na tulad ng kabayanahang ginawa ni Mang Josel. Di man ito malaking bagay para sa ibang tao, napakalaki ang kabuluhan nito sa taong kanyang tinulungan at sa pamilya nito (These days, we seldom hear of heroic stories such as the one of Mr. Josel. It may not seem much to other people but for the victim and his family, this means the world),” Tizon said.
Bayani ng Kalsada is the local adaptation of the successful, long-running Highway Heroes program of Goodyear that has been running for more than 24 years in the US and is now also held annually in Asia Pacific countries such as Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
"Being a company whose products people entrust their lives to as they traverse the roads and highways across the Philippines, we are compelled to push the road-safety message to our consumers. Our commitment to this effort is non-negotiable. More than a popularity contest, BNK is a concrete manifestation of what road safety is all about—going beyond our personal levels of comfort and becoming more aware of others who are on the road with us," said Goodyear Philippines Managing Director Gerry Alava.
While a dedicated search committee continues to actively look out for road heroes all over the country, the public is encouraged to nominate their own road heroes. Nominations may be sent by texting BNK to 0921-7666166 (Smart) or 0915-8995070 (Globe). Another way to nominate is by filling up nomination forms available at all Goodyear Autocare, Servitek and Tyre Pro outlets and can also be downloaded from www.goodyear.com.ph/bayani. All forms can be submitted to the outlets, faxed to 817-7795 or mailed to Zest Asia, Room 215, La Fuerza Plaza 2, Pasong Tamo cor. Sabio Street, Makati City.
BNK 2009 will honor five winners: one each from four regions—Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and National Capital Region, and an overall champion. Each regional winner will receive a cash prize of P30,000 while the overall champion will receive P50,000.
Each nomination will undergo a thorough screening process and will be judged by a prestigious panel of judges which includes transportation officials, media and sponsor representatives, and Goodyear executives. (Press Release)