From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 5): A soldier’s unforgettable boodlefight with his Commander-in-Chief Pres. Duterte
Chief Master Sergeant Vicente Palo patiently waited for the arrival of his commander-in-chief as he sat on a white mono bloc chair along with other soldiers and policemen on Sunday afternoon.
Palo, a Philippine Army soldier who has served more than three decades, every now and then glanced at the set of long table set-up by his other colleagues for their traditional boodle fight, a type of communal eating on a banana leaf with rice topped with different viands.
On Sunday afternoon, they were scheduled to share a boodle fight with President Rodrigo Duterte in his third visit to Cebu this year.
He honestly told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-7) that this would be the very first time in his entire life in the Army that he gets to dine together with their commander-in-chief.
“Dako nako nga dungog nga ang presidente nagakuyog siya sa mga gikan sa highest ranking to lowest ranking sa AFP. Proud ako sa sarili ko at sa personnel sa Central Command nga nasabay nako siya sa pagkaon (This is a big honor for me that the president will join us from the highest ranking to lowest ranking in the AFP. I am proud of myself and the personnel of Central Command that he will be dining with us),” he said in an interview prior to President Duterte’s arrival.
Palo returned to his seat after the brief interview with PIA-7. Together with the rest of the uniformed men and women, who were there at the hangar of the 220th Airlift Wing inside the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, he patiently waited for President Duterte to arrive.
The President arrived at past 7p.m. where he was greeted by the top officials of the military and the police force here in Central Visayas.
The program began with a message from Centcom chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Lactao who also shared the same enthusiasm with that of Palo.
He explained the boodle fight was held as a thanksgiving to the troops, who bravely fought the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in an encounter last month in Bohol.
Lactao also asked a moment of prayer and silence as he mentioned those who died during the clash.
In his talk to men, President Duterte in turn thanked them for “remaining true” to their mandate to fight the enemies of the State.
After his 22-minute speech, he was led by Gen. Lactao to the left side of the stage, where he was shown a display of photos and firearms that were recovered by the government after their encounter with the ASG.
This was followed by a brief group photo and then the boodle fight.
President Duterte shared the meal of rice, grilled fish, grilled chicken, lechon, tortang talong, and banana with the troops.
PIA approached Palo after the dinner.
He said the sumptuous meal made him full but more than that, he said he feels his military service wouldn’t be that complete without that boodle fight with President Duterte.
Two years from now, Palo will be hanging his uniform and he will make his final salute to the service.
But that boodle fight with the president, according to Palo, will be the most memorable experience that he will hold close as a military man.
“Kini siya dili na gyud ni siya mawala sa akong pagka-sundalo kay bihira lang sa isang sundalo nga makasabay ang isang presidente, ang amoang commander-in-chief (This experience will never be lost with me as a soldier since it is rare for a soldier to be with a president, our commander-in-chief),” he said.