MANILA-The city government of Calbayog, its local health unit and police team were among recognized during the “Awarding of the Unsung Heroes: TS Yolanda” held on July 25 at The Heritage Hotel, Pasay City.

The recognition of individuals, units, teams and agencies (local, national and foreign) who helped in rescue and rehabilitation efforts among victims of Yolanda was initiated by the Department of Health. Health Secretary Enrique Ona led the awarding of plaques of recognition to the Yolanda responders, and for the city government of Calbayog, Mayor Ronaldo P. Aquino (the agency head), City Health Officer Dr. Sylvia de Guzman (the head of office) and former Calbayog city police chief Supt. Elmer Cinco (the response team leader) received the said award.
In his message, Sec.Ona expressed his gratitude to the members of the Calbayog contingency group for extending assistance to victims of Yolanda. “I would like to thank the city of Calbayog for sending their complete response team to Yolanda-hit areas. You were their first big help. Without waiting for reports and cry for help, you came to them as their first ray of hope early morning of November 10,” Ona said.

A day after Yolanda hit Tacloban, Calbayog’s City Health Office (CHO) received report of deaths of Yolanda’s ground zero and immediately, Dr. de Guzman informed Mayor Aquino of their plan for a response that paved the way for the city mayor to call for a meeting with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) and extend immediate help to the typhoon victims. The Calbayog City “Yolanda” Response Team was led by Supt.Cinco with 20 policemen and teams from the CDRRMC, CHO and City Social Welfare and Development Office.

The team proceeded to Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) and provided assistance to the hospital personnel that were already on duty for 72 hours.
A generator set was installed inside the hospital to also provide them electricity. The doctors assisted in the operation, the nurses reinforced the staffing in the wards, and midwives handled deliveries. Everyone also provided emergency care for victims inside the hospital including provision of anti-tetanus vaccination and leptospirosis prophylaxis.

Outside the vicinity, the Calbayog Response Team put up a makeshift clinic to decongest the hospital. The food provision of the team was also shared to the victims.
On November 11, Mayor Aquino arrived with more doctors, more food, and truckloads of water through the Bureau of Fire Protection-Calbayog City Station. The Calbayog rescuers also gathered Calbayognon victims and gave them a free bus ride home. After five days, the group left Tacloban to extend assistance to other areas in Samar and Leyte also hit by Yolanda. (AIMEE CATALAN/PR)