By: Jojie Codilla
January 30, 2018
PHILIPPINE ARMY CHIEF NOW ADOPTED SON OF LAMITAN CITY
Quiet, unassuming, decisive. These are how most people describe Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista, Commanding General of the Philippine Army.
Truly, his modest, humble and shy-boy aura and persona have endeared people—especially the Lamitenos—to him, the reason why despite his leaving Basilan to abide by the order of the president himself, President Rodrigo Duterte, to become the Presidential Security Group commander, many of the people of Lamitan seemed to be like star-struck teenagers who still couldn’t get over him.
But this is partly because he has shown to me and my fellow Lamitenos that we are as important to him as he is to us. Proof of this is his immediate acceptance of our desire and offer for him to become an adopted son of Lamitan.
In the many times that we have invited him to Lamitan, then being the 104th Brigade commander based in Tabiawan, Isabela City, he has never said no to any of our invitations no matter how trivial or insignificant an affair it was.
His effort to be present thten and during his conferment last Tuesday, January 16, in Lamitan City showed us how much he honors his word, the way he has honored his acceptance of his conferment as the City’s adopted son and brother despite his very busy schedule.
We would understand if he wasn’t able to make it because of his hectic, backbreaking schedule that brings him to all parts of the country and abroad by virtue of his being one of the top five military officials in the land. But there he went, and the Lamitenos were so humbled by the presence of the man who has been in the forefront of many of the Philippine military’s greatest battles in recent history, quickly rising from being the PSG Commander to becoming the 1st Infantry Division Commander and at the same time Joint Task Force Marawi commander and now Commanding General of the Philippine Army. All these in less than two years, because he has shown himself worthy of the trust and confidence of his Commander-in-Chief.
He flew, he came, he conquered. That was what General Bautista had to go through just to make it to his conferment last Tuesday. Despite bad weather which stalled his trip for hours, and against the advice of PAF pilots for him to stay the night in Sulu until the weather has cleared, he still decided to fly from Sulu to Basilan where the Lamiteños were excitedly waiting to witness the most memorable event.
In his speech, Lt Gen Bautista thanked the City Government led by Mayor Rose Furigay for its great and invaluable support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He said that unlike most LGUs, Lamitan City that immediately offered help as soon as he met its LGU officials. In grateful appreciation, General Bautista presented his command plaque to Mayor Furigay for her “invaluable service and support rendered to the Philippine Army as a partner against terrorism and lawlessness and for making Lamitan City a home away from home for our Army troopers.”