A heroic Filipino who saved an elderly couple when Typhoon Hato hit Macau last August received a merit award from the government on Friday.
Despite not knowing how to swim, Loreto de Guia Mijares Jr, a migrant worker from the Philippines, rescued the elderly couple and another man caught in floodwater after Hato, the strongest storm in 53 years to hit the former Portuguese enclave, struck on August 23, according to a government release.
Mijares worked in housekeeping at a hotel and he liked to help others, especially the elderly, and he is curious about Macau, the statement added.
Mijares was very happy and expressed his gratitude at receiving the certificate of merit awarded by the Macau government, Jornal Cheng Pou reported.
He said he would try to learn to swim before the next typhoon seasons come but regardless, he doesn’t want any flooding to happen again in Macau.
A video went viral on Facebook during Typhoon Hato showing the old couple trapped when water flooded a street around Rua da Praia do Manduco.
Mijares was at home with his wife and heard the calls for help from the couple. He rushed downstairs and waded across the flooded street. He approached the elderly pair and another man while other residents threw down a lifebuoy attached to a rope, which they used to drag the couple out of the water.
Loreto’s wife Nafe Mercader Mijares said she was very proud of her husband, adding that they had received many blessings from friends and neighbors.
She also appreciated the Macau government’s support and recognition of her husband without considering his foreign nationality.
The Macau government presented Decorations, Medals and Certificates of Merit awarded for 2017 on Friday at the Macao Cultural Center to 42 individuals and organizations in recognition of their achievements, outstanding contributions and distinguished service.