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December 5, 2017


Our soldiers face countless, silent trials. This is the story of Capt. Monroe Bongyad, a member of the 7th Scout Ranger Company and how the victory of Isnilon Hapilon’s death became sweeter.

While Capt. Monroe was in the field, his mind was with his wife and his newborn baby. He couldn’t tell his wife that he has been assigned to the war front. He didn’t want her attention to be divided between their child and his well-being. It was important that she focus on their baby. His child was born with a complication, intestinal malrotation. It meant that the baby’s intestines are twisted and was causing blockages. His child couldn’t take any milk and after several visits to the provincial hospital, this started to drain what meager savings they had. The baby had to be operated soon. His wife and child had to seek medical treatment in Manila, since hospitals in the cities were more equipped to handle this delicate operation.

Capt. Monroe decided to seek help from Phil Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) regarding his situation. He looked up PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan, a former officer of Sandataang Lakas ng Pilipinas from the Phlippine Military Academy, and contacted the man through Facebook messenger. He wasn’t sure if the man would answer his request and when he got an answer, it was a blessing sent from heaven. He didn’t expect that PCSO would shoulder all of their expenses. He was teary eyed as he received the details that he later on forwarded to his wife.

GM Balutan assured Capt. Monroe of his assistance. After all, according to GM Balutan, “Sa katunayan nahagip ko lang yan sa messenger ng Facebook. Alanganin na ng oras ng gabi habang namamahinga ako ay nabuksan ko yung messenger ko at merong napakahabang message sa akin. I know na pagkita ko palang ay emergency ito. Walang pinipiling kulay o pulitika ang PCSO pagdating sa pagtulong sa mga nangangailangan.” He told the captain to put his mind at ease and concentrate on his situation at the war front, “Dapat magfocus na muna siya sa front line. Malungkot dyan at pati yung mga kasamahan madadamay because of a lack of concentration and focus. I’ve been in Mindanao for 20 years I’ve been in Marawi for 2 years. I know the feeling of a father-soldier. Kung mawala siya, pati yung bata, I cannot imagine the trauma ng balita dun sa asawa. Ang nawalan ng mister at ng anak – hindi ko kayang konsensyahin yun so bilang dati nyang instructor, as assistant commandant sa PMA, siguro naging palagay yung loob nya na lumapit sa akin bilang isang senior officer ng Armed forces sa PMA.”

Capt. Monroe was beside himself with gratitude, asking how he could repay such kindness, GM Balutan replied that he can do so with Isnilon Hapsilon’s death. After a few days, the Captain sent a photo of the Abu Sayyaf leader’s head, along with the message – “Sir, mission accomplished!”

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