Issue of November 12, 2017
Mt. Province

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A simple yet meaningful welcome for a Marawi hero

No funfare, no welcome committee, except for his wife, his brother, and two children who greeted him as he alighted from the bus over the week.

This may be an ordinary scene in a bus terminal, a simple welcome for a soldier who saved lives of children and women during the Marawi siege.

Army Captain Jeffrey “Jeff” Buada, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2007, is the commanding officer of the 15th Scout Ranger Company “Mandirigma” of the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment. He gained popularity after a photo of him rescuing a child, who was among the hostages of the Maute terrorists, went viral on social media.

In the middle of the firefight on Oct. 19, Buada ordered a ceasefire. He removed his helmet and body armor, laid his firearm, approached the enemy lair, and negotiated with the terrorists to set free the children and women they were holding as hostages and allow the soldiers to bring the wounded to the hospital.

No shots were fired from 11 a.m until almost 4 p.m. The fighting resumed after the hostages were already moved into safety.

“I had to do it. I had to ease the tension to save the children,” Buada said.

“I got reminded of my children when I saw those being held hostage,” he said.

“It was a come-what-may situation. It was painful to see them in that situation and just leave them there.”

In May, during the earlier days of the Marawi siege, Buada was injured when a bullet hit his knee.

On the day he saved the hostages, Malou, Buada’s wife, said she received a call from her sister-in-law asking how Jeff was, because the picture frame of Jeff fell.

Worried, Malou tried to get in touch with her husband immediately, but to no avail. It was in the late afternoon that Malou was able to talk with Jeff who said everything was alright and he was safe. Jeff did not mention the incident that just happened earlier.

It was only when Malou received text and private messages through social media that she knew of her husband’s heroism. She said she felt bad when she got message of condolences. “They did not read through the whole article. They assumed right away that the outcome of what they saw in the picture was bad.” She had to tell each of them that Jeff is well.

Upon arrival in the bus terminal, Jeff was surprised that his children were there to welcome him.

“It is our simple way of surprising Jeff,” Malou said. “Usually, Jeff would arrive while the kids are asleep and would surprise them with his arrival. This time we had to meet him.”

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