Not all soldiers kill in a war-zone. We sometimes forget that soldiers still need people to save them or to treat them if needed. Therefore, we have what we call, Military Soldiers. They are the ones being deployed during wars and medical missions. Sounds easy? I think not.
32-year-old Abdul-Aziz Ontoc from North Cotabato is one of those Military Soldiers. He is a Neurosurgery resident in a military institution. He has been specializing to perform surgical procedures involving the brain and the spinal cord which is very hard if you are in a war-zone. He is the one being called out to be deployed if our country needs doctors in the field to perform and provide primary task as a health care provider for military personnel and their dependents. Not to mention him being an ultimate eye-candy for girls out there! He really has the full package!
After passing his Physician’s Licensure Examination, he immediately joined the armed forces since it was his childhood dream to be part of the military.
Few months ago, I was offered by two big television companies in the Philippines to have the story of my life featured in one of their segments, a bioflick. I refused courteously because there are a lot of more heroic stories of soldiers during the siege that are worth the air time. One of them is Staff Sergeant Basa. . He was my “suki” when we were both in the main battle area during Marawi Siege. He was wounded not once but three times, sought minor surgical procedure only, then would go back to his men in the field. One of the most notable acts that he did is when he jumped on an explosive device, covered it with his body to protect his men once detonated. Unfortunately for the enemies, (the universe conspired), the IED was busted and did not explode. He survived and after the liberation of Marawi, he was deployed to Jolo, Sulu, only to be ambushed by another group of enemies of the state. He incurred a gunshot wound in the head, almost fatal, underwent a major neurosurgical operation, and survived, making him one of my patients again, but out of the battlefield already. . Currently, he already received 5 Gold Crosses and 2 Distinguished Conduct Stars (2nd next to highest). We are also waiting for the approval of his MEDAL OF VALOR award, the highest award given to a soldier for his “acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” . [Thank you maam @josephinecodilla for some of the info and pictures.] #memoirsofmarawi
“I love my job. There are a lot of things that I do, in addition to providing health care, I am also involved in education and training and other administrative matters.” he said.
We also do know that being a part of the Military might be the hardest thing to do because of the risk that you are taking. Also add the fact that they are on call 24/7 for emergency cases. It involves life and death decisions and actions that need thorough practice and training.
Memoirs of Marawi (13 of 15) #memoirsofmarawi . One of the best things that I observed and made me proud during the siege was that from the firefight, most of the casualties were evacuated to the Casualty Collecting Points with application of what we taught way back in 2012 during CMET. It was one of our objectives during that time – to educate all troops in battlefield medicine. During a firefight, any individual soldier may need to take care of himself or his buddy when wounded, without the help of the medic or the combat lifesaver, who may not be available all the time… Experiencing the improvement of the forward health services first-hand was priceless! Who would have thought that after five years, they would be able to apply those principles? I am one proud former instructor!
“Being part of the military, our mindset is not to consider something as hard. When faced with such situation, we must do something to solve it.” Abdul-Aziz said.
He grew up in a war-torn community which is why his profession didn’t surprise his family. They in fact supported him throughout his training in the military.
Memoirs of Marawi (11 of 15) #memoirsofmarawi . I had no choice. I could not risk the lives of my driver and my medics – one was a retiring soldier next year. I did not command my team and ambulance to move from cover. Instead, I ran to the wounded soldier while his buddies were returning fire as my cover. I carried him and ran back immediately to the ambulance like The Flash. I forgot to crawl lowly to avoid incoming bullets. I was in adrenaline rush. It was later that I realized that I was not wearing any protective vests. Maybe it was luck that I was not shot. Maybe the universe conspired as it was not my time yet… The wounded soldier was saved and he was safely evacuated to Cagayan de Oro.
Helping and serving are his primary role as a trained military doctor. But Abdul-Aziz believed that his medical practice isn’t the only help that he did throughout his career. He is the kind of guy who doesn’t count how many people he saved or helped. For him, helping can be as small as giving a smile to random people.
“When you do something, there are people that you indirectly stir, that you cannot count. For example, people you did not know who succeeded because your story inspired them. There are some people that you have helped greatly, just by smiling at them, by listening to their story, or just tapping their back.” he shared.
Community service is the thing that he loved the most in doing his profession. For him, helping those in need is totally priceless. Abdul-Aziz always believed that doing something good will be rewarded in the afterlife.
Every month, I will feature a small scale enterprise in my Instagram to extend help in growing a fellow Filipino’s business… …some sort of online Bayanihan. ✌️😁🇵🇭 With 30K followers, at least we can make our Instragram more purposeful. This new series may reach target customers and at the same time, inspire juvenile minds who are planning to start their own projects too. . Last time, I featured @chokkosbakery, a pastry shop in Baguio owned by @gyledominguez. . BAYANIHAN ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: This time, I’d like to introduce @shirtupmnl, an online clothing shop owned by @iamjeyem. Sir JM was a former corporate employee, a graphic designer. After few years of employment, he started his own business and became the boss of his own company. Recently, one of his projects is this online shop for fitness and outdoor enthusiasts. . Please use #bayanihanentrepreneur hashtag if you’d like to help and promote a fellow Filipino’s business in your instagram also! 😊 Magbayanihan po tayo mga maam/sir!
You can also add the fact that he is flaming hot! Some of his IG post includes his super healthy body. Anyone can really tell that he really follows a healthy diet on top of his active lifestyle. He is not just an idol for being a good citizen of the country but also an idol for fitness and health.
It’s a wonderful day today! Make it more wonderful tomorrow! Choose your leader wisely! ✍️🗂 #magdamitkamuna #magtoothbrushkanarin #maghilamosatmaligo #wokeuplikethis #picturemuna #latekananaman #kailangangwalangdamit? #nangangampanyakaba? #hubaderoseries #angibatintaangpinopost #dimakaboto #securityguard #redalert #goodvibesulit #angbigatngmemoirs
“One of the quotes that got stuck in my brain is: “You can’t judge a fish by testing its ability to climb a tree.” I like this one because in the Filipino tradition, we have a mentality that we can only have a good future if we do good in the four corners of the classroom. I believe that every individual is unique and is excellent at something. He or she may not be good in Mathematics or Science, but a prodigy in Arts, Music, and Sports. Parents should be supportive at what their children love to do, their passion, and the world will be a better place.” Abdul-Aziz shared.
He is indeed an inspiration to all of us. Abdul-Aziz is a true hero. He will always be there to remind us to pursue our dreams and turn it into a reality.