I have always admired uniformed men and women who dedicate their lives to being soldiers. My fascination to soldiers and the things they do led me to where I am working now. Sure there are a lot of reasons on why any one would doubt the integrity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines but I think it would only be proper to give them the credit they very well deserve.
When I started working for and with the AFP, I learned that these guys do more than just training and securing the State. They are actually bright people with bright dreams for the whole of nation. Out of all the soldiers I have worked with, no one inspired me more than the former Chief of Staff, GEN EMMANUEL T BAUTISTA AFP. His vision for the AFP is so big without being unreachable.
On my very first encounter with him, my immediate boss presented something which is part of Gen Bautista’s priority project. I cringed on his comments on our work because it felt like none of it was right. But then I realized, this guy is intelligent and well read. It was nothing personal to him and all his comments were made to make the project better.
And then I saw his goofy side, the side which I would think is not apparent on his very soldier-ly look. He was (and still is) game to take pictures even the wacky ones. He pleasantly gives food or whatever it is in his office whenever we are there. More than this, he cares his people, both the soldiers and the civilians.
The picture above was my last solo picture with him as the CSAFP. His retirement speech made me realize that AFP is retiring one of the most brilliant minds it ever has. For us, the Filipino people, Gen Bautista will always be Manny Sundalo- the soldier who courteously answers people through text that the AFP is committed to doing its job without claiming the glory for it.
Thank you for the inspiration, Sir Manny Sundalo! Til we meet again.