As we celebrate International Firefighters’ Day this coming May 4, Iba ‘Yan took this as an opportunity to pay tribute to some of our modern-day heroes, who highly deserve all the recognition and appreciation for risking their lives in order to save others.
The May 2 episode commenced with host Angel Locsin looking back to some of the remarkable and heroic deeds of some firefighters from different stations. First is Fire Officer 1 Paulo Baraquiel and his fellow firefighters from Parañaque City who saved someone from jumping off a building to commit suicide. Then Fire Volunteer Ronald Ambrosio who rescued a dog from a fire in Sta. Ana, Manila and even did cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to revive it. The Pasig Fire and Rescue Volunteer Group, Inc. also did a selfless act when they rescued those who were trapped in their houses during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses last year.
In order to learn more about basic fire safety tips that we could share to to our communities, Iba ‘Yan went to the Rescue Emergency Disaster Training Center of Central Fil-Chinese Fire Rescue and Civic Welfare Assn, Inc. in Pasig City, with comedienne-actress Kitkat joining the team to meet some of our valiant and courageous firefighters. Fire Chief Hendrick Sin, Founder and Fire Marshal Henry Sin, FO2 Christopher Girao, and FO3 Jomel Llanza discussed the classifications of fire, demonstrated how they swiftly wear their protective gears, as well as the various basic fire prevention tips.
We were also amazed and inspired by the father and son tandem of fire volunteers Henry and Hendrick, who selflessly give their service to the Filipino people by putting their own lives at risk in order to save and rescue their kababayans. The host was able to know more about them and why they both chose to be of service to others by being fire volunteers. Henry, the founder and fire marshal of Central Fil-Chinese Fire Rescue & Civic Welfare Association, Inc. (CFCFRCWAI), shared that he’s very glad that two of his children followed his footsteps as they also became fire volunteers.
From being a businessman, Henry started as a civic volunteer by joining rescue missions during calamities and in fire operations in 1993. Growing up, he was already exposed to this kind of job because of his father who was once a fire volunteer. But there also came a time when he decided to stop from his work at the fire station when one of his co-fire volunteers was seriously harmed during an operation. That became a very huge worry for Henry, so he took a break and got himself occupied in other civic activities, such as visiting elderly institutions, orphanages, and sick children. Another setback that he faced was when he had a heart attack that almost cost his life, so he prayed to God to give him another chance.
Growing up, Hendrick witnessed his dad’s passion in helping other people even if it meant risking his safety. When he was still young, he would see his father bring home his personal protective equipment (PPE). Thus, his desire to be of service to other people also ignited growing up.
Henry then decided to establish CFCFRCWAI in 2015 as he saw the need of the community to be protected from inevitable fire accidents. Besides, he noted as well the need of institutions, including orphanages and elderly institutions to be supported.
Angel also got to talk to one of the volunteer firefighters in the organization, Jerald Uy – a father of five who serves as the fire captain in the organization to support and provide for his family. According to him, what awakened his interest to be a volunteer firefighter is the inspiration he gets from his peers. He also feels fulfilled every time he is able to rescue other people and they thank him for saving their lives.
However, behind the satisfaction that he gets from being able to help others, Jerald is beset with personal problems that he has to face every day. For instance, his partner used to have a kidney infection and now suffers from another illness again. Apart from that, Jerald still doesn’t have a lead about where his 72-year-old father, Julian Uy, is, who has been missing for 12 years and is stricken by Alzheimer’s disease.
Iba ‘Yan supported Jerald by giving him cash assistance for the medical check-up of his partner and maintenance medicines for her as well. He also received gadgets for the online schooling of his four children and baby needs, such as diaper and milk for his youngest child, as well as groceries for his family. He also personally received an up and down bunker, helmet, boots, and gloves.
Henry and Hendrick were given surprises, too! The Iba ‘Yan team was informed that Henry loves to exercise, so they gave him a bike. Meanwhile, they also knew that one of Hendrick’s hobbies is running, so they gave him a new pair of running shoes, together with helmet, headlight, tail light, and tumbler. To support their advocacy, they also received two sets of SCBA or Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, as well as additional equipment for their truck, including a hose for water refilling and a hose for fire-fighting. Their organization also received sanitation kits and dri-fit shirts for all their 25 members.
But not only the firefighters who were surprised by the gifts given to them, but they also presented Angel her certificate of appreciation and another certification which accredits her as an honorary member of the organization.
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