The Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council or MDCC and the Bulan Rescue Team deserve once again the highest respect for their selfless efforts and efficient performance in saving the lives of many Bulaneños and of coordinating the whole disaster management at the height of typhoon Dante last May 1 and 2.
Under the leadership of Vice-mayor Gogola and the young and competent Municipal Administrator Luis De Castro, Jr., the dangerous risks to the lives of our town people had been maintained to the minimum. I’ve observed these men at work in a situation where I know would also have triggered the highest emergency alarm and stress even among most advanced cities in the world. Our men worked with the serenity of spirit, bravery and heroism of a real Bulaneño amidst the chaos in the whole of Bulan and the limited technical resources they have at their disposal. And I approached them and talked with them to know more about the disaster from their own perspective- with Vice-Mayor Gogola as he inspects the evacuees in Bulan South Central School and with Mr. Luis De Castro in the MDCC office which is housed in the old Municipal vicinity as he instructs the men of the rescue Team.
Mr. Luis De Castro has retained this attitude of thankfulness in the midst of a disaster for the very little effort our Canipaan Team has done to the very first wave of evacuees that occupied the Bulan North Central School in the early hours of May2. I sensed also a deep sincerity in him when he told me ” sana walang maging casualty” (we pray that there will be no casualty).
These words had warmed my wet body and wearied soul for actually I came to bury my sister this very day- and not to roam around in the flooded streets of Bulan, an experience I never had for the last decades. Bulaneños still care for Bulaneños is the insight I have learned in my short exchange of words with Mr. Luis De Castro, Jr. I also somehow felt rewarded in return for the indignation and caring that I felt when as a young boy our then mayor Mr. Luis de Castro, Sr. met his tragic end. I think this inter-connectedness-in some-ways- in -a -deeper -level is the essence of being one people.
Our Kudos then to our competent young leaders who can practically manage the town on their own and who are present not only in peaceful and joyful times but in times of great calamities that even reached international news reports. Born good leaders seem to be always at the right place and time and are there when the whole town is in distress and when the padabas need them the most.
I violated my argument that if pictures speak louder than words, then let them be, which means words are unnecessary. My defense is that I cannot photograph my thoughts and feelings so again, I used words to convey them in this short tribute to our leaders.
For now let these following images speak louder than me:
Municipal Adninistrator Luis De Castro, jr. instructing his men.
The silhoutte of Vice -mayor Gogola (middle figure) as he inspects the evacuees in Bulan South Central School.
Some of the rescue men having their briefing.
One of the rubber rescue boats.
Rescue men in action.
Hold on tight, children! The water is wall-high.
A race against time.
Clearing the waters from dangerous objects.
Young boys on the look out, ready to help.
These are some of images of Bulaneños’ fight for survival on that stormy days.
Bulan Observer (photos by jun and mila asuncion)