TACLOBAN CITY- “There was only little time for me to mourn when my only sibling died after the surge. Many are in need of blood services from the Philippine Red Cross – Leyte Chapter that needed much attention,” Nilda Quiero teary-eyed during the interview as one of the awardees of the Yolanda Heroism Awards handed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The regional office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) honored people on November 5 who showed uncommon bravery and selfless commitment to others during and after Supertyphoon Yolanda last year.

The recognition, dubbed as The Yolanda Heroism Awards, sought to acknowledge people who risked their lives for others and to glorify exemplars of courage and selflessness, DILG Regional Pedro Noval, Jr. said.
Recognized acts of valor were security guard Dionesio Bagon, a resident of Palo, Leyte; Christopher Caspe from Magallanes, Tacloban City; Armando Corillo from V&G Subdivision, Tacloban City; Benjoe Mercenes of Taguiktic San Jose, Tacloban City; and Isagani Sabalza of Brgy, Magay, Tanauan, Leyte.

For acts of Good Samaritan the honorees were Nilda Quiero of Philippine Red Cross, Leyte Chapter; C/insp. Adel Bautista of the Bureau of Fire Protection, and Ranel Repasa from Tanauan, Leyte. The honorees were screened and validated by DILG and agency partners from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd) and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Eastern Visayas Chapter. Nilda Quiero, a medical technologist of the PRC, was honored under the acts of Good Samaritan Category. Quiero together with 16 other staff and volunteers of the agency spent the night at the chapter building on November 7, after feeding arroz caldo to the evacuees at the Eastern Visayas University numbering to 888 persons.

They never got to sleep as the next thing they did was preposition of relief food packs. When typhoon’s fury was imminent in the morning of November 8, and waters started to rise, Quiero immediately saved important documents already floating, money for purchases and equipment at her hand’s reach, secured them in the vault, before breaking glass windows and joining the rest of the group at the Red Cross building rooftop for four-shivering hours. She thought she could not survive.

She went home on the following day, only to find out his brother Felix has not returned home. She reported to the PRC Operations Center at Leyte Park Hotel in the morning and searched for his brother at the Fish Port down Magallanes street in Tacloban around 3 o’clock every afternoon, until they found him under the debris at the fishing port on the 15th. “With the help of the Red Cross, we put his body in the body bag, brought him to the old cemetery in Sagkahan, secured him in the space provided above my mother’s grave. Only to return, before Christmas day, to give him a decent burial,” Quiero said.

Quiero’s nominator was PRC Leyte Chapter chairman lawyer Miguel Tezon, who said that heroism is a way of life at the Philippine Red Cross but others do an extra mile to make life better for others, that made them shine like Quiero. Tezon said Quiero worked 25-straight days after the typhoon with over 800 patients served. Winners received both plaques of citations and a cash reward. “The storm which was the strongest ever to hit land tested the resolve and character of the people. The award is a fitting tribute to the individuals who performed extreme acts of selflessness and sacrifice during and after Yolanda,” said Dir. Noval. (VICKY C. ARNAIZ)