Leadership Lessons Learned and Recommendations

“Terrorism is an omnipresent danger, a reality we must face in this modern world. These 154 days of battle tested our leadership, motivated us to innovate, and unveiled many lessons, all of which enabled us to better ourselves in the service of our country.” — Lt Gen Rolly Bautista

Masters of Human Conditions

Military leaders should be more than positional figures of authority. We must also be masters of psycho-socio-cultural relations. We must be capable of inspiring our subordinates and co-leaders amidst a crisis. It is important to know our teams – behavior, strengths, limitations, capability, and interoperability. Building confidence and establishing rapport between leaders and their personnel early on will result in cohesiveness, teamwork, and solidarity.

Education and Training Development

Education and training development for junior and senior officers were also seen as crucial interventions needed to enhance our capabilities. Combined Arms exercises in various real-life scenarios should be integrated to prepare us for more dynamic and complex situations and to level-off knowledge and get a good grasp of updated tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

Incentives to Sustain Motivation and Drive

Providing the proper incentives for our subordinates is a must. Recognition and appreciation of their efforts and heroism goes a long way in boosting the morale of our troops. Allowing them to take on leadership roles no matter how minor acknowledges their capabilities.

Positive Mental Attitude

In any given situation, possessing the right attitude and frame of mind goes a long way. By focusing on the bigger picture, realizing the importance of everyone’s participation, respecting people’s points of view, delineating roles, and synchronizing everyone’s effort towards the attainment of goals leads to success.

Empathy for the Community

When it became apparent that the battle would not be resolved by July, our leadership got in touch with our stakeholders to provide an alternative shelter to the relief tents which would be used by the IDPs for some time.

The Philippine Army in cooperation with Tarlac Heritage Foundation (THF) came up with Bahay Pag-asa Phase I. This was an Immediate Shelter and Accommodation Project that featured 50 environmentally friendly bahay kubos. This could be assembled within 30 minutes. The bahay kubo is cool, comfortable, and considered home by the majority of our less fortunate Filipinos. It contains a rainwater collection system and a 100-watt solar panel. It can be pre-assembled and prepositioned in various military camps to meet any need. It is made out of nipa, bamboo, coco lumber, and sawali, providing a means of livelihood for local farmers in the countryside.

It was visibly noticeable on the faces of the recipients of the bahay kubos how happy they were living in this 1.2 hectare complex with a deepwell, water storage facilities, a 500 sqm Hardin ng Lunas vegetable and herbal garden, toilet facilities, shower facilities, laundry facilities, kitchen facilities, and a community center with a 50-inch LED screen. This was the first public-private partnership and the first housing project for the IDPs in the City of Marawi, inaugurated on the 2nd of October 2017 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Bgy Bito Buadi Itowa, Marawi City. It was a patented technology and an innovation of the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division (1ID) in cooperation with THF. Visitors and relatives of the recipients clamored for more. Thus, we were compelled to ask our stakeholders to come up with Phase II.

Bahay Pag-asa Phase II features an Immediate Shelter and Accomodation housing complex of 60 houses, that is more permanent in nature, and made out of concrete, hollow blocks, and dura rib roofs. Provided that all the materials are on hand and there are 12 skilled workers per unit, weather permitting, it can be put up in three to five days. This housing complex has the following: a deepwell, water storage with a capacity of 15,000 liters, electric power connection, a community center with 50-inch LED screeen, a 500 sqm Hardin ng Lunas vegetable and herbal garden, a basketball court, volleyball court, 60 parking slots, and three bahay kubos (male and female children’s playroom and a learning center). It was formally inaugurated on the 28th of February 2018.

The Bahay Pag-asa Projects were a more comfortable alternative to the relief tent and afforded its occupants the privacy and dignity that they deserved in times of crisis.

This entry is part of Book 1: Leading from the Heart.)

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