The Philippines has a lot of heroes since time began. Some have been etched in the nation’s history as some of the more revered and well-known. People like Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Gabriela Silang, and much more are even discussed in Social Studies and the Philippine History. But unfortunately, not all heroes are sung and, even worse, many are forgotten.
Though there are many names that we have forgotten, not all stories end with a bad ending. Remember retired PAF Staff Sgt Narciso “Tatay Isok” Dela Cruz Alpas? Well, his story, though started are something unfortunate has turned a complete 180. With the aid of several agencies, help for Tatay Isok has reached him in more ways than one and we have the Samahan ng mga Retired at Active NCO-AFP Survivors Atbp (SARANCO Atbp). Without them finding him, the necessary information to provide him help regarding his wounds and living conditions.
Netizens all over social have also expressed their sighs of relief when the said Facebook group posted about the immediate actions made by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to make sure that the horrible living conditions of Tatay Isok was no more last December 4, 2017. In addition, the PAF’s Facebook page released a statement about this situation last December 1. It states:
“PAF’S STATEMENT ON RETIRED SSG ALPAS
We are deeply saddened about the condition of one of our retired personnel, Staff Sergeant Narciso “Tatay Isok” Dela Cruz Alpas PAF, who was seen roaming around uncared for and even sleeping on the streets of the Municipality of Sibalom, Antique.
The case of SSg Alpas (ret) is a serious matter that we in the Philippine Air Force cannot disregard.
Through our personnel stationed at the Tactical Operations Group 6 (Iloilo), we have gone out of our ways to make coordination with other government agencies and private institutions in order to rescue and provide all the necessary assistance to help SSg Alpas (ret) live a comfortable life he truly deserves.
We have taken Tatay Isok out of the streets and will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region VI for legal custody. With regards to his pension, we have already sent our personnel to take care of some pertinent documents.
SSg Alpas had served years of dedicated service in the PAF; therefore, he should not be experiencing such unfortunate living condition.
We commend the efforts of various individuals and groups who have shown their concern and support for Tatay Isok by effectively utilizing social media as a tool to promote social good.
May other people be inspired to do the same and carry out such noble acts to help those who are in need.
Despite the good news, this has also raised some questions and even suggestions from concerned netizens. Some expressing dismay on how a hero could be so forgotten and forsaken as if he was nothing. We even got some a discussion started over the comment sections with one commented said that, “Ganyan ang nagiging buhay ng mga taong nambabae at puro layaw. (That is the life as for the people who have indecent affairs and succumbs to their caprices.)” But there were those who actually knew a nugget of truth when one replied with, “Retired SSG Alpas story is different guys. He is not as bright as others but he a really hardworking soldier. I received info that even when was still in active duty, all of his earnings were only for his family and he can’t even hold it. He is a simple and hardworking soldier and dedicated his life for his country and family. Thanks.”
Some even suggested to propose a separate council/department who would then be in-charged of taking care of our veterans to which many resonated and supported. Whatever the next move is, this moment is something we can take lesson from: We should always check on the lives and welfare of the soldiers who fought against evildoers and served valiantly so we can enjoy the freedom that we enjoy and not take them for granted for what they have done.
Though we, Manila Channel, were only one of the catalysts in fast-tracking help to Ret. SSG Alpas, we are happy to have been of service and were able to give back, even just for a little, to a man who has given a lot. Also, we would like to thank the SARANCO Atbp. for shining the light on a topic is that is rarely talked about. We hope this would help shift some focus on the men and women who have retired from the service but are not treated properly or are not living the life they should. We would also like to commend the swift actions of the PAF on arranging a much needed intervention to uplift the life of Tatay Isok by contacting the necessary local government offices as well as going above and beyond to secure the welfare his permanently.