April 30, 2014
A lady employee from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management who hails from Camalig, Albay was among the four persons who perished when their aircraft crashed while conducting cloud seeding operation in a corn plantation in Bagabag, Nueva Viscaya on April 27, 2014.
Leilani Grageda Naga who works at the BSWM in Quezon City usually goes home for a short stay and bonding with her brothers and her nephews and nieces whenever she has official business to do in Bicol as part of her function either as Soil and Water Area coordinator, or technical staff for the Organic Fertilizer Project or as the team leader of Cloud seeding operations which are among the tasks she performs for her agency. But this time she is home for good - to be buried in her birth place alongside with her parents in barangay Quirangay in Camalig town.
Lei, as she is fondly called by friends is single at 52 years old but has lived a fruitful and meaningful life. A graduate of BS Agricultural Technology from the Republic Colleges of Guinobatan, Albay , she has dedicated her life to her work at the BSWM which brought her to many parts of the country and even overseas as she underwent intensive training on Meteorology , Soil and water management. For 30 years she unselfishly shared her time and efforts to perform her mission undaunted by the risks and highly motivated despite the low salary and the elusive promotion. She has received many awards and commendations for her dedication and commitment to her work.
Lei exemplifies a true public servant who risks her life and always respond to the call of duty even beyond the prescribed office day or hours. The fateful seeding operation was conducted on a Sunday.
Secretary Alcala commended Leilani for her outstanding service to the Philippines and the Filipino people and for her bravery in performing her mission – a demonstration of an unconditional commitment to her job and to the people, especially the farmers she took pride in serving.
Her passing is a great loss to the BSWM and the DA family. But for every drop of rain that falls especially on a hot summer like today, we will be reminded that there unsung heroes like Leilani who bravely risk their lives to induce rainfall to save crops and alleviate lives of farmers (Emily B. Bordado)