Marawi’s frontman

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

(An exclusive with Secretary Rolando Bautista)

A week has gone by and in between my two part series on my exclusive interview with DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, I was serendipitously fortunate enough to have actually met the kind Secretary in person, coming from a flight back to Manila from Cebu City for the pre-SONA. I can honestly see why this man is a quiet but strong driving force in our mission to rebuild and bring back peace in the city of Marawi more so, in our nation as a whole. 

To continue my interview, I asked the Secretary about Task Force Bangon Marawi and its significance in the rebuilding process. General Bautista explained that Task Force Bangon Marawi is composed of different government agencies working together toward the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of conflict-stricken Marawi City. Task Force Bangon Marawi works with the affected communities with the goal to effectively execute programs that will contribute in the healing and rebuilding process. 

The biggest motivation that really struck me here and as the Secretary explained, was the mutual respect in a socio-cultural context which forms the key to collaboration and partnership with the affected community. The Philippine Army has currently tasked units especially the Civil-Military Operations Regiment and Engineering Brigade to assist Task Force Bangon Marawi in its rehabilitation efforts. 

Citing the socio-cultural context is very necessary as it is in this regard that we recognize the customs and values that define a society together with the education, religion, language, social organizations as well as law and politics. This explains why the Secretary’s passion to serve our countrymen is also very much deeply rooted in empathy. As a leader, empathy is very important. One cannot effectively lead if he does not have a full understanding of the people he is leading. Secretary Bautista’s love for country cascaded down to the last foot soldier. 

We often speak about unity or the lack of it. At most, it has been a point I have “stressed” over a few times sighting also the setbacks that come along with it. To further change my perspectives on the matter, especially since learning is lifelong, when I asked Secretary Bautista his thoughts, he simply explained that disunity among Filipinos stems out from differing political points of view, which is healthy for democracy. Even with these conflicts, Secretary Bautista believes that we are all united for progress and development in our outlook for a better Philippines. It is just a matter of having inspirational leaders whom the Filipino nation in general can look up to in properly executing the laws and administering policies. 

The Secretary went on by saying, during the Marawi Crisis, we observed that the entire Filipino nation can be united in our fight against terrorism in sharing a common goal of achieving peace. Unity among the Filipino people from all walks of life came together to defeat the enemy in Marawi City. Our government forces harnessed a wide array of support from various sectors of Philippine society with the realization that the Battle of Marawi was not the battle of the Philippine Army alone, but the battle of the entire Filipino people against the evils of terrorism.

When I asked about how the rest of the Filipino can help in teaching and building peace, the Secretary explained that building and teaching peace is a shared responsibility of all. The entire Filipino nation should actively participate in promoting the culture of peace toward progress and development. (To be continued)

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