Davao cites volunteers

Subscribe Now November 22, 2013 at 08:08am

A TOTAL of 103 volunteer-members of Team Davao, sent to Tacloban City for search, rescue and relief operations, each received a Seiko watch from Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who also lifted his order prohibiting them from speaking to anybody about their mission.

"The reason why I prohibited you from granting interviews and answering questions from the media is this: We were the first to arrive in the morning.. (and) from the looks of it, it was really on shuffle. I didn't want to join the blame game. Now you can talk already," Duterte said during the appreciation night for rescuers and volunteers held at the Grand Men Sneg Hotel on Wednesday evening.

During the send-off of the second batch of Team Davao to Tacloban City on November 14, Duterte told them to refrain from talking to anybody about their mission.

"Kahit ako, I do not respond to national (media), nakokornihan ako. Ayokong magpa-hero hero (Even me, I do not respond to national (media), I find it corny. I don't want to act like a hero)," he told them during the send-off.

However, Duterte on Wednesday night lifted his order.

"Pwede na silang magsalita. The dynamics there is not a little bit good, comparing with others. Para hindi tayo mapulitika. Basta tayo tutulong lang. I told them what you do to your fellow men, you'll find out later on in life that you were really doing it for yourself," he said in an interview with reporters.

He said an appreciation night was held for him to personally extend gratitude to the volunteers who "sacrificed a lot just to save their fellowmen."

The 103 member-volunteers, which include the first and second batch, are composed of personnel from the City Social Services and Development Office, Task Force Davao, Davao City Police Office, City Engineer’s Office, Central 911, and the City Health Office.

The three pilots -- Captains Reynaldo Acosta, Artemio Alejandro and Geovanni Paz -- and two private volunteers -- Darrell and Sandy Blatchely -- were also recognized.

Each of them received a plaque of appreciation and a Seiko watch.

Duterte said the plaque of appreciation was funded by the City Government, while the Seiko watches were bought by one of his businessmen friends.

In a separate interview, Dr. Samuel Cruz, assistant head of the City Health Office, said they had to give them extra treatment.

“Kasi kahit may pera ka dun, walang value kasi mga pharmacy doon an ransack na. So kami we have to give them extra. Kung bibigyan mo lang sila ng isang gamot like paracetamol, wala na yan silang buffer,” he said.

He said the most medical concerns of the typhoon survivors were infection and diarrhea, among others.

Emmanuel Jaldon, Central 911 head, said their team was the first to arrive at the area although they had traveled for 36 hours before reaching Tacloban City since they passed through “a longer route.”

“We had to clear the debris blocking us along the road, practically yung mga nandun, electric posts nasa kalsada nakatumba. However, everything went smoothly the moment we arrived,” he said.

They set up camp at the RTP Plaza (Remedios Trinidad-Romualdez).

He said the first thing they did was to clear all the debris at the airport to give way for all the transactions and aid that poured in.

“There were several activities that we conducted and all went well,” Jaldon said.

Meanwhile, the City Council lauded the Team Davao during its regular session on Wednesday.

“They do not want to be called heroes, they do not wish for any recognition, but I personally believe that Dabawenyos should know their names and their faces,” Councilor Joselle Villafuerte said in her privilege speech.

Some of the Team Davao members were present during the session.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

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