Monday, October 8, 2018

An ordinary man’s humble road to living and leading

By Julius R. Paner

Some leaders are plain stuffs. Some are emergence from politics and popularity and everything somewhere in between. Some lived up to their billing as champions of political dynamism while others illustrate to total fakery. So, most leaders are molded by the staggering impetus fuelled by dynasties, financial wealth and mass fanaticism.

But every once in a while a special leader comes along who appears to carry out an impending change most people thought of as impossible to happen. His existence does not come across to reward those who already occupied the throne of prosperity in a world or country. His existence comes across to launch a paradigm in favour of the deprived and underprivileged. He seems like a man on a mission armed with determination, bravery and love. I see no other leaders in this country have ever been more inclined to be like that than Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

This former Director General of the Philippine National Police, who once invigorated the war on drugs campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte, is carved out from the scarcity of life. Now serving as the Director-General of the Bureau of Corrections, dela Rosa is an epitome of poverty and survival. In a small village in Davao del Sur province is where this humble national icon of courage started chasing a dream.  

Early struggles

The path to education was not easy for dela Rosa. As a son to a tricycle driver, he had to endeavour several alternatives like selling fishes and kakanin items like puto and suman in their barangay and nearby places in order to earn extra income to support his studies. According to younger sister Ruvy Ann, at a very young age Bato already exhibited initiative and resourcefulness. “One time Manoy Ronald and our eldest brother went to an adjacent barangay of Matutungan to peddle fishes to upland residents, only to find out that that very day the barrio folks celebrated their fiesta and nobody bought their stuff. Instead of just returning the fishes back home they converted them into tinabal, a fish delicacy seasoned only with salt to extend the shelf life and had it sold to a much higher price. For him there is always a solution to every problem”.

Even then Bato was already a good leader to his siblings. “If there is one thing I admire most of Manoy Ronald, it is his being strict and disciplinarian to us. He used to train us not to waste a single crumb of rice in our table. He always showed us how to value every little blessing that God provided”.

Ruvy Ann said the good performance of his brother while handling the PNP torch in the country was attributed to Bato’s sense of responsibility and leadership when they were still young. “He is very responsible. At times when our youngest sibling was confined in the hospital Manoy Ronald took care of us, performed household chores like cooking, washing clothes and feeding the animals”

In his secondary schooling at Sta. Cruz National High School, Bato had to walk more or less 8 kilometers every day. With the dearth of financial resources, riding a jeepney then from home to school and back was already a consolation. There were even times he went home late and had to run fast in the public cemetery portion of the highway he was scared of darkness and “ghosts”. Walking, running and other forms of physical activities outlined dela Rosa’s present built that he often referred to as “Bato”.

Chasing Success

A degree holder of Public Administration course in Mindanao State University (MSU) Marawi, Bato tried his luck in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1982 and eventually became an elite member of the 1986 Sinagtala Class.  Whatever financial stipend he obtained from his PMA studies he made sure to get a fraction of it and share it to his parents.

A master’s degree in Public Administration and Ph.D in Development Administration were also tucked into dela Rosa’s educational belt that was rounded off with short courses on Scout Ranger, Advance Police Intelligence, Police Officer’s Controllership and Police Safety Officer. He also had schooling stint abroad such as training courses of the FBI Academy and U.S Army Ranger School and the Australian Federal Air Marshal Instructors Course.

For someone whose educational ride was more of a roller-coaster, the magnitude of success that dela Rosa presently holds is a testament that only the strong and determined survives.

Pedigree of discipline, toughness and uprightness

The blood that flows through the veins of dela Rosa is inoculated with the spirit of toughness, uprightness  and discipline which has become his weapon in propelling triumph in all the assignments he held as police officer. With his unorthodox way of fighting criminality and by displaying extraordinary level of sincerity, his rise to the police rank was firm and steadfast. He made signature achievements in the service by upholding program on anti-drug abuse campaign, anti-gangsterism campaign and eradicating criminality. As some of his closest neighbours would put it, Bato’s ill-fated past impelled him to be a strong man of today, enough to make him one of the finest men in uniform this generation has ever produced.

Souvenir photo with General Bato at Camp Crame sometime February 2018
You can tell a lot about a leader by what he does differently. Bato might have yet to show his full might in some other turfs but certainly his performance as an armed human resource in this country could not be described by mere words. His sincere drive towards change could never be labelled enough by the word “excellence”. If he is a rock star a lot of people are falling in line already even before he announces a major concert. If he is a showbiz personality, he is definitely a prime time material.

HARD AS ROCK – he might have been referred to most of the time being a police figure, but if you detach the camouflage clothing in him this firm personality is fortified with diffidence inside. After all, the word “Bato” not only connotes rigidity and durability, it also represents – in a broader context – compassion.

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