The Region 12 Peace and Order Council (RPOC) declared Joel Bacugan, 47, a “hero of Tacurong City” for risking his own life when he moved an explosive away from a crowded area before it exploded around 12:40 p.m. last Tuesday.
“If not for his heroic deeds, we could have witnessed one of the worst bomb attacks in recent years,” said Region 12 police director Chief Supt. German Doria in a simple ceremony.
Doria, the RPOC’s vice chair, formally presented Bacugan to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Calderon and Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno during a special council meeting here this afternoon.
Bacugan, a member of Tacurong’s civilian volunteer organization (CVO) team assigned to secure its public market, fearlessly isolated the bomb moments after it was discovered in front of a store inside the public market.
The explosive, fashioned from an 81-mm mortar shell and improvised with a timing device, was packed in a box before it was left at the scene by three unidentified suspects.
Bacugan, who was stationed near the area, said he immediately recognized the bomb the moment he peeked inside the box so he wasted no time in moving it away.
He carried the explosive and placed it in front of a comfort room where it exploded several minutes after it was found.
Four persons were injured but all of them had been declared out of danger.
“I really don’t know what I was thinking then but it just happened. I just thank God that I was unusually quick then,” he told MindaNews in a brief interview.
Sultan Kudarat Gov. Datu Pax Mangudadatu, RPOC chair, promised to give Bacugan some incentives and further promote the latter’s feat to his constituents.
“He’s one of a kind, we will take care of him,” he said.
The governor said he is just waiting for a report from the Tacurong city police office so they could extend the incentive to Bacugan.
Mangudadatu added that he would recommend Bacugan to be a part of an upcoming CVO team that would be deputized as auxiliary policemen in the area.
As an auxiliary policeman, Bacugan may take part in law enforcement training programs of the PNP and would later be eligible to legally carry a firearm. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)