PO3 Ralph Barahan (left) of the Philippine Coast Guard helps save the lives of the 62 passengers and crew of the ill-fated MV Siargao Princess on November 7, 2019. | contributed file photo — Photo Courtesy of PCG-7
CEBU CITY, Philippines —Single-handedly saving 62 lives from the sinking of MV Siargao Princess may earn Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Petty Officer III (PO3) Ralph Barajan the highest honor in the uniformed service.
Commodore Ronnie Gil Gavan, the outgoing commander of PCG District Central Visayas, said their legal team was pursuing to possibility of conferring the Medal of Valor to Barajan.
Barajan was the off-duty member of the Coast Guard who solely facilitated the evacuation of 62 passengers and crew members when MV Siargao Princess encountered big waves in waters off Sibonga, southern Cebu, last November 7.
“Ayaw ko lang talaga na may mamatay sa harapan ko. Na-experience ko na kasi yan dati na may pasyente ako na wala akong magawa,”said Barajan who is a registered nurse.
(I don’t like people dying in front of me. I have experienced that before with one of my patients and I could not do anything about it.)
Barajan was on his way back to his station in Oslob after he visited his family in Bohol when the sea tragedy happened.
Barajan, a native of Cortes town in Bohol, is currently assigned in PCG Southern Cebu Station. He was first assigned in PCG Southern Tagalog district when he joined the organization in 2012.
Gavan said having heroes like Barajan under his command would be his proudest moment in his one year stint in the district.
“I am the proudest commander because I will be ending my stint here in Central Visayas knowing that we were able to live with a hero, and we were able to help our men realize that we don’t have to be supermen to become heroes,” Gavan said.
Gavan said that they were pushing for Barajan to be recognized by the International Maritime Group.
On the PCG founding anniversary tomorrow, November 20, Barajan will be recognized again alongside his promotion to Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) rank.
On Tuesday, November 19, Barajan received a Plaque of Recognition from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) and a P20,000 cash gift.
Secretary Michael Dino said Barajan’s action was an example worth emulating not only for those who were in the government service but also for the youth./dbs