Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Honest Soldiers Turn Over 'Buried Treasure'

FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City –   Being   less   in   life  does  not  make a person  greedy especially in times of disaster. This attribute was shown by two low-ranking Army soldiers during the search and retrieval operations in the earthquake-shaken community in La Libertad, Negros Oriental.

Privates Danny Faigane and Marlon Vera were members of the disaster response team which was immediately deployed in that town, following the 6.9 magnitude earthquake which pummelled the village of Salonggon on February 6.

Both soldiers come from the province of Capiz, one of the province in the island of Panay. 

A son of a militiaman, Vera, 23, is born and raised in Roxas town. The second child in a brood of three, he is a witness to his father’s selfless service to the people in their community, motivating him to tread the same path.  

He experienced the hardships being raised by a poor breadwinner whose income is augmented by a meager allowance as a member of the Army's paramilitary force.

He said that one of his primary motivations in joining the Army was to help his family financially.
Influenced by his father, he joined the Army on May 11, 2011. Later, he found himself serving the far-flung villages of Negros Oriental as a member of the 32nd Reconnaissance Company.

When he started performing his mandated tasks in the community, he realized that military service is not only about having stable income. He found a deep sense of pride every time he takes part in a certain activity that benefits the people.
On the other hand, Private Danny Faigane, 22, is a son of farmers  from Jamindan town.
As a young child, he had seen the community services rendered by soldiers. Their house was located near the largest military camp in Panay island.  

“I have appreciated the role of soldiers in the community. I admire them not just for being warriors, but for being agents of peace and development,” said Faigane.

Tragedy struck Negros Oriental

The 6.9 magnitude earthquake that jolted Negros Oriental and other parts of the Visayas region brought people closer to each other.

Army soldiers were among the first responders who were mobilized to help the disaster-ravaged towns.

In the town of La Libertad, Faigane and Vera personally witnessed the extent of the destruction and the massive loss to life and property.

“We felt a sense of loss upon seeing the distraught family members looking for their missing relatives, many of whom were buried in the mud. We promptly used our available digging equipment in our attempt to save lives,” said Vera.

For days, these two soldiers unflinchingly offered their services in areas where massive landslides wiped out whole communities.

 In many occasions, they braved  aftershocks that shook the vicinity where they were retrieving bodies of hapless victims.

On February 13 at  around 10:00am, they were removing dirt and mud  from an upper level of a house when they unearthed a metal box containing P70, 000.00. They also found another bundle of cash amounting to P20,000 in the same vicinity. 

Carrying the newly-discovered 'treasure', the two soldiers immediately declared their find to their superior,1st Lieutenant Gerald Deles. The latter personally accounted the money turned-over by his subordinates.  

"It never came to our minds to keep the money for ourselves simply because it does not belong to us. In addition to that, I am also saddened by the enormous loss suffered by the disaster victims," said Faigane.

Vera also said that seeing the substantial amount of cash reminded him of the piles of debris which used to be  decent houses.

“I knew that the owners desperately need the money to rebuild their home. Returning the money was one of the best ways we could help lessen their woes,” added Vera who was wounded by a galvanized iron while retrieving the buried items.

Virginia Callora, the owner of the money, was a picture of sheer bliss upon receiving the exact amount of money that she feared lost in the mud.

Faigane's tears of joy welled in his eyes, seeing that his noble deed was deeply appreciated.

“I could not contain my happiness upon seeing the reaction of the Ms Callora, as if the money was heaven-sent during that moment,” narrates Faigane.

 Upon seeing that the cash was already handed over, Vera was immediately rushed to the camp for immediate treatment. His wound required  eight stitches but the sense of accomplishment erased all the pains.
Faigane rejoined his unit which continuously perform retrieval operations in the area.

Message of admiration for the soldiers

The photos and news releases posted at the Philippine Army Public Affairs Office and the Army Spokesperson's Facebook Fan page gathered positive comments from various individuals.

Rich Neri Concepcion said, “A good deed like this; however simple, should be commended.  It sets a good example for others to follow and reflect the long tradition of integrity and professionalism in the noble profession of arms.”

Michael Robinson also said, “Great, very good. Did they get a little reward from the CO of their company? They should get a little for such a job well done.”

Meanwhile, Akisha Lubingco said, “Good news yan. Isang magandang halimbawa sa lahat ng sundalo at ehemplo para sa mga matagal na sa serbisyo…Snappy salute, Pvt Faigane and Pvt Vera. Simula na kayo ng mga pagbabago sa ating sandatahan.”

Army Chief Lieutenant General Emmanuel T Bautista, who is on official visit in Singapore, immediately sent a message of commendation to the soldiers.

“I appreciate the good deeds displayed by these soldiers. This is something that the whole organization is very proud of ,” Bautista said in a statement. 


  1. wow..i got chills up my spine reading this..i know how hard up in life some EP's can be because i know some of them personally, but this is tangible proof that having less in life doesnt mean you have to resort to taking advantage of your fellowmen.. good job sundalo! i believe it goes back to how the military has trained and inculcated these beliefs and ideals in the soldiers while on training..hence the need to give more emphasis on this aspect in order to build soldiers who will have more compassion and love their calling more !! iSalute!

  2. Thank you for the kind words Pauline!

    This might be a small act of kindness displayed by your soldiers but it matters when our organization is plagued by negative stories about a rotten few.

    There are thousands more in the AFP who remain loyal to their oath.

    There are countless more who can be called TRUE Filipino soldiers whom we can rely on during desperate situations.

    I will continuously tell stories about them.

    Best regards! :-)

    1. SIR! gusto ko po maging katulad nyo ! na makikipaglaban para sa bayan! SIR!

  3. SIR! tulongan nyo PO AKO SIR! INGAT