File Photo : Aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda
File Photo : Aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda

Tacloban City – Do you have a personal story to tell of witnessing or benefitting from the heroism or bravery of people during Supertyphoon Yolanda and its immediate aftermath? If so, now is the chance to let the world know, through the Yolanda Heroism Award of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 8.

The award, which seeks to recognize people who risked their lives in the service of the community during the brunt of Supertyphoon Yolanda and to glorify exemplars of the virtues of courage, selflessness, gallantry, bravery worthy of emulation, will be conferred by DILG-8 in time for the first anniversary of the typhoon on November 8, 2014.

Nominations, which shall be for two categories: Acts of Valor and Acts of a Good Samaritan, is already open and will last until the end of July, said DILG-8 Regional Director Pedro A. Noval Jr., who conceptualized the award. Winners will receive both plaques of citations and a soon-to-be-determined cash reward.

“In many ways, the storm, which was the strongest ever to hit land, tested the resolve and character of the people. The award is thus a fitting tribute to the individuals who performed extreme acts of selflessness and sacrifice during and after Yolanda,” said Dir. Noval.

According to the guidelines, DILG Regional Memo Circular 2014-02, a “Hero” who must be present in a severely affected Barangay, Municipality or City during the Super Typhoon Yolanda, may be nominated several times by multiple people. To be eligible for selection for the Yolanda Heroism Award, a nominated Hero must either be a private, local or government official(s) and employee(s) who meet either of the categories

Acts of Valor. The recognition is given where the evidence presented shows that he or she saved human life at extreme risk to self. “Extreme risk” shall mean of greatest severity to one’s self or even at the cost of his/her life. The nominator will give consideration to resourcefulness and heroism demonstrated during the rescue operation.

A major point to consider in this category is the number of lives saved from the water surge, debris, and raging wind during super typhoon. This award may be conferred posthumously, in behalf of the deceased nominee, to his/her legal heir or nearest kin.

Acts of a Good Samaritan. The award recognizes notable acts of service that need not involve attempts of rescue or risk to self but has shown/performed extreme acts of selflessness and sacrifice. The individual has performed an act of service of rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.

The acts may include emergency relief/assistance such as, first- aid, food, clothing, temporary shelter, and such other acts that may lessen the impact of the disaster to the victim right after the typhoon. The length of time or number of hours/days of service may vary according to the need for help.

The major point to consider here is the number of individuals or families who were accorded help and their general condition, stated the DILG Regional Director.

The Regional Selection Committee shall be led by the DILG-8 Regional Director, with a civil society organization partner from the religious sector as Vice Chair. The rest of the panel will be composed of the Regional Directors of DOH, DSWD, DEPED, and a media representative. A similar setup will be followed at the provincial level, said Dir. Noval.

Nomination Process

A nominator must be at least 18 years old who has a personal/actual knowledge/account of the incident, an eyewitness or a rescued/assisted victim. All Nominations shall be forwarded to the local government unit(LGU) concerned duly noted by the LCE and shall then be recommended by the Parish Priest for submission to the Provincial Screening Committee (PSC).

According to Dir. Noval, a nominator may only nominate one Hero and there shall be no self-nominations. Nominations must be submitted on behalf of another person who is not a member of the nominee’s immediate family. The nominator must provide the contact information, including email address and telephone number (whenever available) for the nominated Hero. The nominator must have been physically present in the Yolanda affected LGU during the Typhoon.

The nominator bears the responsibility to write a summary of the event and complete the application in detail that pertains to the case (Please refer to the basic factors to highlight in the nomination write-up), using the prescribed YHA Nomination Form-01 with attached supporting documents, such as: Rescued/Assisted Person’s Statement; Eyewitness Statement; with accompanying photos or video, if any. Likewise the nominator must submit nominations either in English or in the local language.

Nominators are asked to tell the story about the incident or the nominee in an inspirational, compelling manner that can in turn be told to the community.
“Make sure to give details about how your Hero has dedicated his/her life during the Super Typhoon Yolanda so as to inspire other people, “ said Dir. Noval. They are also asked to include as much facts and supportive data as possible, including how many people their Hero has impacted or how many hours of service they have committed.