A sixth grader from Malinao Elementary School in Albay Province teaches us that all can become heroes. At the height of typhoon Juaning on July 25, this year, she risked her life to save the Philippine flag being swept away by the waist high water inside the compound of their school.
Her act of bravery capture the imagination of the country and once again proved that all is not lost among the pre-adolescent youth that nationalism is alive. She is Janela Lelis.
Her gallant act, instantly made her a hero covered by the local and national press landed her sponsorship among well-meaning entities, both from the government and the private sectors knowing her social condition. When interviewed during her shopping spree, she was delighted and amazed of the spaciousness of a local mall, telling everyone that its her first time to set foot to it. As if in a wonderland she could comprehend all the attentions she received after her act of bravery was publicized. What amazes the public was her resolved to take the Philippine Flag to safer ground inspite that it becomes heavier and bigger than her, wading a waist high flood water that almost swept her, her safety not considered and showing no fear at all.
The latest to give her honor is the National Youth Commission, an office attached to the Office of the Preisent, by passing a Resolution dated August 23, 2011 extolling her bravery that only the bravest of heroes could have done. The Provincial government of Albay is readying a Resolution to assist and honor the sixth grader and the social services regional office extended assistance to her family.
Janela Lelis deserves the best from us. (Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr. of BicolToday.com)