Filipino road heroes citedBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines – A jeepney driver from Cavite City is this year’s overall national winner of Goodyear Philippines’ Bayani ng Kalsada, a nationwide search for Filipino drivers who have demonstrated heroic acts on the road.
Romualdo Sta. Ana Ariestotle, 33, heard gunshots while waiting for passengers at a jeepney terminal in Bacoor, Cavite.
Ariestotle said that while waiting at the terminal, he heard two gunshots nearby and rushed to the scene. He found a woman and a child wounded and brought them to the nearest hospital. The child died and the woman fell into a coma. He said he did not leave the victims until their relatives arrived.
“If one sees a situation like this, they should not hesitate to help,” he added.
Ariestotle was nominated to the search by a fellow driver. He said that he was ecstatic that this was surreal to him.
As an overall national winner, he received P50,000 from Goodyear Philippines.
Ariestotle, who is still without a family of his own, said he planned to give his prize to his mother.
Four other regional winners were honored at the awarding ceremonies held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City on Friday.
Jeepney driver Richard Valerio Paragas of Caloocan City, winner for National Capital Region, stopped his vehicle when he saw a truck crash into a van. He asked his passengers to transfer to another jeep and rushed the wounded victims to the hospital. One of the three victims survived.
Tricycle driver David Domer Montenegro of Cavite City, regional winner for Luzon, spotted an unconscious man in a jeepney and brought him to the nearest hospital.
The regional winner for the Visayas, taxi driver Herdy Bucayan Bandillon from Iloilo city, rushed to a nearby subdivision when he heard through their radio operator that a fellow taxi driver was robbed at knifepoint. The victim, although brought immediately to the hospital, did not survive the stab wounds he sustained.
Taxi driver Esmeraldo Mangandam of Davao City, regional winner for Mindanao, helped a teenager bring her aunt to the hospital. He did not leave the two until the patient received medical attention.
The regional winners received P30,000 from Goodyear Philippines.
“These five motorists are examples of selfless heroism, and Goodyear is proud to have told their stories. What we look for are not good deeds of superhero proportions but everyday circumstances where a driver stepped beyond of his comfort zone – maybe even putting himself in harm’s way – to respond to the demands of a situation requiring his assistance with hardly any fanfare or drumbeat. To some, this is instinctive. To others, it is a choice,” said Goodyear Philippines Managing Director Gerry Alava.
Now on its fifth year, Bayani ng Kalsada is the local version of long-running Goodyear program originally held annually in the United States and Canada, and is also now held in the Asia-Pacific countries such as Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Indonesia. The annual nationwide search recognizes drivers who display courage, sacrifice and other selfless heroic acts on the road.