OFFICER LAYS DOWN FIREARM, CONVINCES HARDCORE TERRORISTS TO RELEASE HOSTAGES

I have heard stories about heroic and gallant deeds all throughout the duration of the Marawi siege but this could be the most noteworthy of all.

To me, the ultimate act of gallantry and heroism was displayed on Thursday by a military officer who, by his willingness to do the ultimate sacrifice of dying for country and people, deserves maybe even more than the Medal of Valor, if ever there is one.

His name is Captain Jeffrey Buada, commanding officer of the 15th Scout Ranger Company, an independent company of the First Scout Ranger Regiment. He is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 2007.

In May, just a few days after the start of the siege, Jeff was wounded in the knee.

“Ok na po ako, Maam. I just hope maka-recover ako agad para makabalik and join my troops ulit sa battlefield,” he said when I asked how he was.

Jeff said he and his troops were almost pinned down to a narrow wall during a gunfight and was lucky to enter a small doorway to avoid the hail of bullets from IS/Maute fighters, except for one bullet which pierced his knee. In no time at all, Jeff reported back to Marawi.

From then on, he accomplished countless deeds, so many that he doesn’t even have time to write them down—assaulting, clearing, rescuing hostages—every imaginable deed of true-blooded warriors.

But his last act was the one people cannot imagine somebody is capable of doing, except in the movies.

Last Thursday, October 19, Jeff literally put his life on the line and deliberately sacrificed his personal well-being to rescue hostages held by some hardcore terrorists. He removed his helmet, put down his firearm and face-to-face urged the enemies to set free their women and children hostages and allow the soldiers to bring the wounded to the hospital.

He requested all the units behind him to cease fire, to put off the engines of tanks in order not to agitate the enemies, many of whom were in a state of war shock.

From 11:00 in the morning until almost 4:00 in the afternoon, with the help of soldiers from other units, women and children were moved to safety. After 4:00 p.m., fighting resumed. October 19 will go down in history as the day that a living hero made the country very proud for his conspicuous act of courage and gallantry beyond the call of duty. Mabuhay ka, Cpt. Jeff Buada! BEEN THERE DONE THAT/JOSEPHINE CODILLA

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