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A Herculean rescue – actions that define a hero

If only the iconic Iron Man was real, he would have been shamed to know that you don’t need a hi-tech suit to be a hero.

Erham Awaluddin, a 22 year-old Tausug from Brgy Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu, exemplifies heroism when it is needed most. 

Working as a road construction laborer on a seemingly regular Sunday, July 4, 2021, his transformation from being an ordinary lad to an extraordinary citizen would soon be unveiled.

Overshooting the edge of the runway, a Philippine Airforce C-130 Hercules with tail number 5125 will soon crash within hundreds of meters from their location. Buzzing overhead before finally hitting the ground and erupting into a huge fireball, the plane has 96 souls onboard.

In an eerie moment, pleas for help were soon heard after the ground mumbled from the blast.

Without hesitation, Erham rushed to the scene to help. Pulling out and tendering to survivors, he was quick on his toes to help the stricken passengers, unmindful of the danger that lies with the burning plane debris – and a possibility of a larger explosion.

“Sumama na ako sa mga sundalo (na rumesponde) kahit hindi ko na kilala. Wala na sa isip ko yun, gusto ko kasi tumulong sa mga tao,” Erham said.

Along with Erham, CAFGUs from Bangkal Detachment and other civilian volunteers also raced to the crash site within minutes, each helping the best way they can to save as much victim as possible.

An epitome of a Filipino soldier

Erham’s bold actions to be of service to others exemplifies a  Filipino soldier. True enough, Erham is an aspiring Army applicant at the 11TH Infantry Division stationed in Jolo, Sulu.

“Kahit Kristiyano o Muslim man, hindi naman ako namimili ng tutulungan ko” as he was quoted saying.

A man whose help extend regardless of race or religion, and with actions having well surpassed his words, Erhan, along with other civilian volunteers, has transformed the way some Filipinos have looked upon our Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao. 

“Hindi po ako kinabahan, kase gusto kong tumulong sa mga tao,” Erhan added.

His actions proved that humanity does not look at religion or race – when we cry for help, humankind will not beg to differ, for it is our heart and compassion that puts us a cut above other beings.

Iron Man, meet Erham Awaluddin. A construction worker. A Herculean Hero – An aspiring soldier. A Filipino worth emulating. No suits, no fancy Jarvis, just pure courage and determination…and yeah, Erham’s hairstyle totally nailed it. (RVC/RTV)

About the Author

Rene Carbayas

Assistant Regional Head

Region 9

Media practitioner, a teacher by profession, an advocate for youth, peace and environment, culture and the arts, playwright and theater artist, earned his Masters Degree in Theater at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and pursued studies in public administration at Western Mindanao State University. Some 18 years in public service and today as Assistant Regional Director of the Philippine Information Agency Region IX.

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