MANILA In recognition of the heroism and sacrifices made by Filipino soldiers in defending the nation, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) formally unveiled their "Alab ng Puso" (Fire in the Heart) sculpture at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Monday.
This includes the recently-concluded conflict in Marawi City where hundreds of soldiers were killed and wounded to liberate the locality from the hands of the Maute Group terrorists.
"Alab ng Puso", sculpted by artist Daniel Dela Cruz, depicts a soldier reading a letter from his family and ignoring the war for a moment. Behind the soldier is metal plaque containing the lyrics of the country's national anthem, Lupang Hinirang in which the name of the sculpture was taken from.
On the steps are several words that mean love, sacrifice, "freedom, peace, and hope in Filipino and other Philippine dialects.
The sculpture represents the humane side of every Filipino soldier wherein despite treating the battlefield as their second home, these brave and patriotic men and women go back to being an ordinary individual that misses their families back home. And weighing out what matters the most, whether family or country, becomes their biggest struggle every single day.
Nakikita natin usually ang mga sundalo na makisig, dala ang kanilang armas, nakikipaglaban. May isang malaking pagkakaiba, sa atin dito na hindi sundalo (We usually see handsome soldiers fighting with arms. There is a big difference from us who are not soldiers). Sila (Them), apart from being ordinary citizens like us�a brother, a mother, a husband, a wife, a sister�they are at any point in their lives ready to die for the rest of us. And that I think is the big difference," BCDA president and chief executive officer Vivencio Dizon said.
Philippine Army (PA) vice commander Major Gen. Roberto Arevalo, who represented Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, expressed his gratitude to the BCDA for recognizing and memorializing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the booming economic center of the country.
"It is indeed an honor for the AFP to be recognized and memorialized here at the art of booming economic center in the country today, which if you can still remember was once a military reservation, a military camp named Fort Andres Bonifacio and now popularly known as Bonifacio Global City," Arevalo added in behalf of the Army chief.
Arevalo also stressed that the military is humbled by the humane portrayal of the Filipino soldier.
"We are deeply moved by your collective initiative and sincere recognition of the services rendered to our men and women in uniform. Ladies and gentlemen, as we stand here today, our soldiers are continuously fighting in the different battlefronts nationwide, not only in Marawi City. It is a fight against terror," the PA vice commander added.
"It is a fight for peace, it is a fight for our troops that are willing to take so that every Filipino who believes that we, as a race, no matter how diverse our ethnic backgrounds, no matter how diverse our cultures may be, no matter how different the ways we praise the Supreme Being, should live harmoniously, should live with respect, and should live under one flag in a country that we secure peacefully," he stressed.
While AFP vice chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Salvador Melchor Mison, Jr., who delivered the message of outgoing AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, lauded Dela Cruz's work and expressed his gratitude.
Mison was also the representative of President Rodrigo Duterte to the event.
The extraordinary work of Daniel Dela Cruz captures the truest sense of every soldier who has served and who continues to serve our flag and country. We regard this as a tribute to every soldier's dedication to duty, driven by the desire to secure a life of peace, a future of promise for a family, for community, for country. We express our deepest gratitude to the prodigious Daniel Dela Cruz, for the work that you have created. A work that captures the spirit of the Filipino soldiers. A piece that celebrates service and sacrifice of the men and women in uniform, Mison said. (With reports from Ericka Cirera, OJT/PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency