Frontliner Story #21: Bartolome Bangibang

Behind the Guns and Bullets

By Janelle Boquida and Kristian Rivera

Edited by Coleen Danielle Natividad

Frontliner sourcing by Lara Galang

To serve the people for security and peace is one of the given priorities of police men. These people spend miles away from their families, in order to serve the country. They currently serve in the frontlines during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Poster by Hazel Nobleza

Police Corporal Bartolome Bangibang has been with the police for 8 years in the same position. Chief Bangibang, as he is known, has three kids and a wife currently residing in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. On the first time that they heard about the news on the pandemic, he was already frightened by the idea of catching the virus, which can infect his family and fellow police men. “Hindi namin alam ang aming kalaban” (“We do not know our enemy”), referring to the deadly and contagious virus. Chief Bangibang is one of the men in uniform who has been assigned at the checkpoint at Calumpit, Bulacan. They were given health services, however not all of them were able to avail.

During this pandemic, there are still Filipino citizens who don’t adhere to the rules given by the government. According to him, “Dapat sumunod nalang po sa pamahalaan at […] ipinapaalalahanan namin […] na laging sumunod sa utos dahil ito’y ikabubuti […] [ng] kanilang kalusugan.” (“They should just follow the government. We would like to remind everyone to follow because it is also for the good of their own health.”) Since the start of the pandemic, numerous reports and videos of abusive policemen have been circulating online that caught the netizen’s attention. As he said, “Meron po. Pero di naman po lahat. Dapat hindi ginagawa […] [ng] isang pulis ang ganyang mga pag-aabuso sa komunidad. Masakit isipin sa amin dahil may mga katrabaho kaming ganoon ang ginagawa.” (“They exist, but not everyone does the same. A police man should not be abusive. It is hard for us to think that we have comrades who are abusive.”)

It is the duty of policemen to take care of our community. Troops roam around their designated areas to protect the community around them. He pleads all Filipinos to abide by the laws given by the government. It is highly needed for us to cooperate with the rules given as an exchange of the hard work for our frontliners.

As a man who is very dedicated to his job, Chief Bangibang never thought of leaving his job amidst the pandemic. “Bago pumasok, hinanda ko na po sarili ko. Hindi ko po naisip na huminto dahil sa COVID.” (“Before going to work, I already prepared myself. I never thought of stopping just because of COVID.”) His daily inspiration and motivation is his family who are residing in Cagayan. Chief Bangibang also gave his warm gratitude to everyone who is currently giving their service to the people. “Lahat tayo [ay] magsakripisyo at magkaisa” (“We should all sacrifice and unite”), according to Mangibang.

As we reach past the 6th month of our quarantine, let us all salute all the Filipino frontliners who are sacrificing and working on their best to secure and remain the tranquility of our country. Maraming salamat po sa inyo!

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