Roderick Dela Cruz, an engineer from southern California, was recently honoured by President Aquino for basically “giving a dam” about his flood-ravaged country.
For the past month Cruz has been the big man on campus at SoCal Edison, one of the largest energy companies in Southern California.
Dela Cruz is the dam expert, recently returning home from a trip to the Philippine where he accepted the honours for Filipino Individuals and Organization Overseas for his effort in launching the National Dam Safety Program.
“Hopefully, this will inspire a lot of Filipino experts here, engineers, scientists, to start considering doing the same thing. For me, personally, if I can save even one person in a dam break or a flooding, it’s worthwhile the effort that I have contributed over there,” he said.
Dela Cruz has been a Fil-Am for the past 16 years – Cruz stayed in constant contact with his mother as he helplessly watched his native Hagonoy, Bulacan, ravaged by flood.
“I could not do anything, she was crying that time and after that I was really overwhelmed by it and said what can I do to be able to help mitigate this continuous and recurring flooding every year? With that, I continue to start writing articles and providing comments on news,” he said.
His expertise made its way to the ears of local government officials. He has become an advocate for several proposed bills that would help regulate and modernize dams including the Angat Dam which supplies most of Metro Manila’s water.
“I imparted to them the importance of a National Dam Safety Program in the Philippines. I also promoted awareness considering that not a lot of people have realized the consequences if a dam were to fail,” he said.
A regular balikbayan, Dela Cruz also works with Balik Scientists, a non-profit that allows OFWs that work in the science, math, and technology field to volunteer in the Philippines