A Grateful Bohol Salutes Its Heroes

It’s been two weeks since the devastating quake that hit the Visayas. Hardest hit, of course, was Bohol. With casualties now pegged at 204 confirmed dead, and damages reaching P2.2 Billion, everyone scrambled as entire towns were isolated and deprived of food, water, shelter and medicine during those critical first few days. The horrifying effects of the quake were not immediately known. But as people discovered the extent of the damage, our pleas for immediate support were heeded, and relief efforts mobilized.

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The people of Bohol immediately organized to try to make sense of the chaotic situation. Shortly after, the national government arrived with the different agencies in tow, greatly enhancing the initial efforts of Governor Ed Chatto and the provincial staff. It didn’t take long before international and local NGOs and institutions such as the Red Cross, the ABS-CBN and GMA Foundations, would check in. Emergency Response Teams and mining companies were also fast in responding to the cries for rescue operations in many isolated areas. Foreign assistance came through in different forms. Private organizations, religious groups and  Bohol’s global community led by the CONBUSAC in America also helped in whatever way they could, from providing food and water, to volunteering personnel services, to extending transportation assistance, and so on. It was just so heartening to see that in these times of difficulty, Bohol could count on so many friends to lend a hand.

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At this point, it will be difficult to name the countless people and organizations who have, in one way or another, been there in Bohol’s hour of need. But be assured that Bohol will always remember those wonderful gestures of sympathy and support you have provided. And I’m sure that one of these days, the provincial government will come out with some sort of recognition rites for these heroes who have turned the Bohol tragedy into a moving story of brotherhood and love, and for providing our brethren an inspiration for a hope-filled tomorrow for Bohol.

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I came across a letter from a victim from Loboc. I’d like to share it for all to read. While the writer extols our Navy personnel mainly, it goes without saying that the entire Boholano community is thankful for all the support extended by the innumerable people who have made the victims’ lives more bearable. Truly, you are our heroes. Thank you, all, from the bottom of our hearts.  Here’s the letter.

We, the residents of devastated Bohol, are very happy with the arrival of a Philippine Navy ship that recently docked here. The PN ship brought relief goods and other basic needs for us victims. Aside from Navy personnel, soldiers from different units continue in the relief operations and rehabilitation. We admire them, especially the PN men, who could not spend or visit their departed ones on Nov. 1. “Wala silang bakasyon,” but they do not mind because they sincerely want to help others, much more so, the victims of calamities like us.

So much warmth of heart from everyone is pouring in on Bohol, like the tourists who take a look at a fault line here. “Tama nga po”, we take opportunity in tragedy and we will recover in no time at all. Tourists continue to come and visit us, to see the ruins, and how we are coping with the tragedy.

We have already received the goods and shared it. We feel we have become one family as we survive in adversity. We are looking forward to a brighter tomorrow, and thank everyone who give help, especially those tireless Navymen and soldiers who sacrifice being away from their families on many occasions to help another in need. THANK YOU!!!!

Meredith B. Goloy
Loboc, Bohol

For more on the Bohol quake, pls read:

(Pictures courtesy of inquirer.net, philstar.com, rappler.com, manila standard, afp, infobohol.com, voanews.com, mb.com.ph, byaheroph.blogspot.com, ucanews.com, asiawidmi.com, ric obedencia) 

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