Iloilo teacher shows students heroism not just a subject | Inquirer News
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Iloilo teacher shows students heroism not just a subject

/ 10:10 PM November 12, 2013

ESTANCIA, ILOILO—For 26 years, public school teacher Rogelio Lardera dedicated himself to honing the minds of elementary school children so they will have a bright future.

Last Friday, he left a lesson that will forever be etched in the hearts of his students at the Concepcion Central School and his town mates. Lardera, 52, died while rescuing residents fleeing the wrath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

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A volunteer in the municipal rescue team, Lardera was struck by a broken tree branch and fell off a dump truck, which was carrying mostly children evacuees. One of the evacuees, Emilio Ortega, also died.

They were among the 13 fatalities in Concepcion town, about 109 kilometers northeast of Iloilo City.

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The town is among the northern Iloilo towns hardest hit by the supertyphoon, with all houses either destroyed or damaged. Waves reaching 20 feet high also leveled the town’s coastline.

Lardera’s family is grieving over their sudden loss but his heroism has helped lighten their burden.

“Despite the pain, we are proud of him. He even left his family at the height of the typhoon to help others,” said Lardera’s younger sister Suzette dela Peña.

Lardera’s wife Leonora said her husband left Barangay Loong early Friday before the supertyphoon struck the coastal municipality.

“He left his wallet with me so it won’t get wet. He also tied our roof so it won’t be blown away,” she said.

It was fortunate that Lardera transferred his family to his parent’s house in the same village as a precautionary measure.

When the supertyphoon struck, winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour tore off the roof of their house.

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“I don’t know what to do now and I have to raise our four children alone,” said Leonora.

She said her husband was very close to their children, aged 10, 16, 18 and 20 years.

Lardera’s death reflected the life that he had lived.

“I fell in love with him because he was a good person who was always ready to help others. He wrote me sayings when he was courting me,” Leonora said.

“Why him? He is such a loss,” Lardera’s fellow teachers told his family.

But Lardera’s mother Estrella said her son was no stranger to sacrifice and hardship.

Lardera was the eldest of 10 siblings of a poor family. His father worked as a carpenter while his mother was a housewife.

Growing up in neighboring Sara town, Lardera walked more than a kilometer to school and caught fish for food for the family.

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TAGS: Across the Nation, Estancia, Heroism, Iloilo, Iloilo City, Regions, Rogelio Ladera, Supertyphoon Yolanda, Typhoon
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