Young girl is honored by Filipino government for saving the flag during typhoon
Jalena Arcos Lelis recently became the first Filipino child to be honored by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The governmental branch that promotes and preserves Filipino culture and heritage recognized Janela's brave effort to rescue the national flag from floodwaters that swept through her hometown of Albay during the Juaning typhoon, according to the Inquirer Global Nation.
She was given a plaque, a Philippine flag pin to wear as a reminder of her courageous act, a new national flag of her own and P20,000 in cash. The president of the Pinoy Power Coalition of Volunteers, Dr. Ofelia Samar-Sy, told the Philippine Information Agency that the organization purchased food, supplies and clothing for Janela and her family, to help them recover in the aftermath of the typhoon.
Many Filipino people who are working abroad will also send remittance to their families and friends to help them recover from the damages incurred during the storms.
NHCP executive director Ludovico Badoy called 12-year-old Janela's deed a "selfless act of courage, reflective of her love for country and a constant reverence to the national symbol," the news source reports.
The young girl braved rushing floodwaters that were at chest-level to retrieve the flag, later telling reporters that she was taught to respect it and to never let it get dirty. Janela also said she was motivated by her brother Kuya Edcel, a 19-year-old color officer of the Citizen's Army Training in Manilao National High School – fearing he would be in trouble if anything happened to it.
"To the 12-year-old girl who saved our Philippine flag, certainly that's a very commendable act," Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told the Manila Bulletin. "It's an indication of something greater that resides on the person."
The Philippine Information Agency reports that many people are reaching out to help Janela and her family in their time of need. Philanthropist Mariel Tolentino promised to give the family P200 every day for at least a year to help them get back on their feet and recover from the typhoon's damage.
People around the world will send money to the Philippines to help others who were affected by the storm.