2 of 5 Bulacan rescuers who died during ‘Karding’ part of team that conducted search, retrieval operations after Naga landslide in 2018

LOCAL officials and first responders in Cebu were saddened by the death of five rescuers from Bulacan who drowned during an operation amid the onslaught of super typhoon Karding on Sunday, September 25, 2022.

Two of them, Troy Justin Agustin and Jerson Resurreccion, were part of the contingent that Bulacan sent to Cebu in September 2018 to assist in search and retrieval operations after the deadly landslide in Barangay Tinaan, City of Naga.

Chad Bacolod, a member of the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office during that time, said he and his fellow rescuers could not believe what happened to the five rescuers.

Bacolod said Agustin and Resurreccion were members of the Bulacan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Team (BCDRRMT). They were assigned to look for survivors and retrieve bodies in Sitio Tagaytay, where the landslide began, he said.

Although the team never found any bodies, Bacolod said he admired their dedication in the face of danger.

Christian Bucao was also part of a rescue team that included members of the BCDRRMT. They were in charge of retrieving the bodies of a couple near the landslide area.

Although he never had a chance to talk to Agustin or Resurreccion, he mourned their death, especially since they were killed in the line of duty.

Meanwhile, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas was also saddened by last Sunday’s tragedy.

Gullas was the congressman of Cebu's first district, which includes the City of Naga, when the landslide occurred.

He said the work of rescuers is not easy, considering they risk themselves to save others.

"It goes to show that rescuers disregard their own safety to ensure the safety of others,” he said in Cebuano.

Talisay City Councilor Danilo Caballero echoed the mayor’s sentiment, believing the public should recognize the important role rescuers play.

That is why Caballero, who chairs the committee on disaster resilience, urged the public to immediately cooperate with rescuers during calamities.

He also urged rescue teams, whether public or private, to be vigilant when responding to calamity situations like typhoons and earthquakes.

Agustin, Resurreccion, Narciso Calayag, Marvy Bartolome and George Agustin, who were members of the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, were killed when their boat was hit by a wall that collapsed during a rescue operation in Barangay Camias, San Miguel in Bulacan on Sunday night at the height of super typhoon Karding.

Their bodies were recovered in the same area on Monday, September 26.

In a statement on Tuesday, September 27, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. extended his deepest condolences and sincere prayers to the families of the five rescuers “for responding to the call of duty and rendering an unequivocal testament of genuine public service even at the expense of their own lives.” (BBT, JKV, PJB)