FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City---- Amidst the influx of daily news filled with the epidemic of violence, thievery and dishonesty, men of honor still emerge in our society.
Corporal Fernando Samperoy is the joining the elite list of honorable men who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of endeavors. He is the third soldier from the 3rd Infantry Division who gained prominence for their honesty.
It can be recalled that during the devastating earthquake of Guihulngan town in Negros Oriental, two soldiers beme known as the 'honest soldiers' for returning P90,000.00 in cash to an earthquake victim who lost all her belongings in the landslide that ravaged the whole community in Solonggon village.
Samperoy unexpectedly found himself basking in the limelight after showing a simple deed of returning something that he does not own.
Upon stumbling on a bag containing P50,000.00 in cash on March 8, he did not hesitate to return it to its rightful owner.
“I was in driving my motorcycle after a church service one morning when I found that bag full of money. I assumed that the owner might need for hospitalization or an emergency need like that,” said Samperoy.
Finding no identification cards or documents that will trace back to the owner, he promptly brought the money to Father Recon Dagunan, the parochial vicar of Kabankalan City.
He learned later in the day that the owner was Isabela parish priest Fr. Leopoldo Cahilig.
All that he got for his exceptional trait was a blessing from the priest, who was all praises for the good deed shown by an Army soldier.
In his homily, he publicly announced the goodness of Samperoy, giving credit to all men in uniform.
Learning the accounts about Samperoy’s good deed, Army Chief Lt Gen Emmanuel Bautista promptly sent his message of appreciation.
He personally signed a Commendation Letter, showing his appreciation for the accomplishment of his shy and humble soldier.
He said, he is happy for the simple things the soldiers do that ripple big impact.
“What Samperoy has done was an act fulfilling two of the Army’s core values, honor and duty. It is the duty of every soldier to be professional and of service to its countrymen anytime, anywhere. Likewise, his honesty embodies the honor that is instilled to every soldier,” said Bautista.
Bautista also said that Samperoy has shown the other skeptics that honesty is alive and doing well in the military organization.
“We will always endeavor to continuously instill the honorable qualities to all soldiers. Through our training program, we will continuously nurture such high moral character in our uniformed men women,” he added.
A laborer’s son
His childhood was not at all fancy, raised by a carpenter father while his mother tends their home, young Fernando has learned to live by a simple but dignified life.
“Since we were young, our parents have taught us to be honest at all times and to never take advantage of other people,” Samperoy, the fourth child in a big family of 8 children, shared.
As a child, he learned about the trust and confidence accorded by the people in his community to the men in uniform. He did not think twice when it was time for him to enlist in the Army.
“The Army trained us to be disciplined and honest. The people look upon us with high regard and given respect, and, I learned to value their trust and never to break it.”
Samperoy is also the living proof that there are soldiers who are naturally well-behaved and respectful.
Lt Col Rodrigo Sosmeña, his Battalion Commander, described him as snappy, responsible, trustworthy and above all, faithful.
“He never misses Sunday masses if he is not on duty here in the camp. His peers are proud for his being a loyal and dedicated co-worker,” said Sosmena.
Samperoy said that he was raised by his parents to become a religious person.
“I remember even at a young age, we regularly attended church services. My parents told us that if we have time for playing, we must also give time for praying. That, I have carried with me and passed on to my child,” Samperoy recalled.
According to him, joining the Army is not only a great honor but also a great help for him and his family. Through his salary, he supports his siblings on their school tuitions while at the same time, he is also augmenting the financial capacity of his family.
Due to the high standard of discipline among the soldiers, there may be countless other good deeds which remain unnoticed.
When soldiers are entrusted with money, they always practice the principle of accountability and transparency. The existence of honest soldiers in the ranks would certainly boost the confidence of the people on the trustworthiness of the men in uniform.
As the Army celebrates its 115th year of service on March 22, it will honor the exceptional performance of its soldiers.
Twenty-one soldiers will be awarded during the Army day for their distinctive excellence in the service, making them the source of national pride.
Two of the awardees are the honest soldiers of Guihulngan, who like Samperoy, have shown the finest traditions of Filipino soldiery.