Such a heroic feat usually is done by a foot soldier or any ordinary man in uniform, a PO. But a senior superintendent of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to gamble his own life to save a family from drowning in the rampaging flood that typhoon Yolanda caused, is worthy of note.
Paulete Buenaventura, is a 32 years-old mother of three: ages 12, 7 and 3. She hails from Basey, Samar but now resides at FERIAN apartment, Brgy. 84 Manlurip, Tacloban City. She works at the Philippine National Bank (PNB), and has a seaman husband who was away to foreign seas when typhoon Yolanda, the strongest typhoon that hit Tacloban and other towns of Leyte on the 8th of November 2013.
As Yolanda’s strong killer winds lashed their place, Paulete feared it might break their window glasses so she had the windows protected by a heavy mattress. She started to pack; to include foods, clothing and secured important documents. Then suddenly, flood waters splashed into their dwelling, and it rose so high in a matter of seconds. By impulse, tugging her children along, she climbed up the second floor of their apartment. At the second floor she had a clear view of the outside, and they saw dwellings being blown and floating in the flood were debris was all over; a number of rooftops got detached and blown down too. The waters in the street were almost ten feet (10 ft.) deep, she calculated.
Fearing that the same might happen to their apartment, she immediately with her young children and a nanny, climbed up the ceiling and crawled to the next apartment, Door 4, she insistently knocked at its ceiling. Lo and behold! SSupt. Hernan Gallo Grande was there with a Jail Officer 1 Flores, possibly a security officer. S/Supt. Grande is the regional director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Region VIII. He took them in and instructed Paulette to have her kids stay at the ceiling, for their own safety. He made makeshift stairs using the sofa and improvised a rope out of belts and blankets.
At the Grande Apartment Door 4, another family not know to SSupt Grande and not from the same apartment has already taken shelter ahead of them. This family almost drowned from the flood but S/Supt. Grande saw them floating and appearing helpless in the waters so the officer immediately dived into the rampaging waters carrying with him the makeshift rope to save the drowning family. Safe inside the Grande apartment, the BJMP director noticed that the leg of the father of this other saved family was bleeding profusely. Director Grande immediately got his first aid kit, disinfected the wound, poured Betadine and pressed and covered the wound with clothes to stop the bleeding.
Both families were provided dry clothes by the director.
By: Alvin Gz. Arpon