Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Military honors a soldier of peace

SOLDIER OF PEACE. Army Chief Lt Gen Emmanuel Bautista is the son of slain former 1st ID chief Brig Gen. Teodulfo Bautista. The older Bautista was killed while trying to peacefully resolve the armed conflict in Sulu Province on October 10, 1977. (Army Photo)
JOLO, Sulu – A bemedalled Army General who was slain by Muslim rebels 35 years ago was honored by the military here, Wednesday, October 10.

Brig Gen Teodulfo Bautista was then the Commander of the 1st Infantry Division when he died along with 34 others while trying to forge peace with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on that fateful day.

It can be recalled that the late Bautista and his men were invited by the MNLF Commander Usman Sali for a peace negotiation, aimed at ending the hostilities in the area.

Instead of greeting them with words of peace, Sali’s men mowed down the soldiers with gunfire, killing almost all of them except one Sergeant who managed to survive.

To pay tribute to the gallantry of the Filipino soldiers like them, Bautista’s son, Army Chief Lt Gen Emmanuel T Bautista led the inauguration of the “Museo ng Kagitingan” in Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in barangay Busbus of this town.

The mini-musuem is located inside the largest military camp in the province which is currently occupied by a Marine Brigade.

It is intended to highlight the bravery and sacrifices of the Filipino soldiery in the spirit of nation building.

After the inauguration, Bautista along with the Commander of the Philippine Marine Corps, Commander, 2ndMarine Brigade, the Municipal Mayor and other military officials conducted a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial site in Brgy. Danag, Patikul town.

‘Peace is the way’

The young Bautista has always cited the legacy of his father in his earlier public pronouncements.

“His legacy is my source of inspiration. He gave up his life to pursue the agenda of peace and I remember him saying that we are all brothers Filipinos, we don’t have to kill each other,” he said in a TV interview aired by ABS-CBN.

He said that the solution to our nation’s problems could not be solved through the use of armed violence.

Also known as a soldier of peace, Bautista was among the architects who crafted the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan”, the new AFP campaign strategy which veered away from the traditional military approach of dealing insurgencies.

“We would really like to demonstrate our sincerity to really achieve peace together with our people and we encourage them to join us in winning the peace,” Bautista shared.

In reference to the infamous Jolo Massacre, Bautista is firm in his stand that he wants to make sure that his father and the rest of the victims did not die in vain.

“A lot of soldiers and a lot of our people have given up their lives for peace. Because of that conflict, I felt that we had to do something, we have to win the peace for all of those who came before us, not only for them but for our people now who deserve peace and a better future,” Bautista said.

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