Female captain leads recovery of damaged military vehicles in Marawi
MARAWI CITY — Capt. Jovy Buclat and the 13 men under her command never fired a shot during the battle for Marawi.
Their job was not to shoot it out with the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists loyal to the Islamic State (IS) jihadi group but to “rescue” Army armor and other vehicles that got disabled during the fighting.
Buclat, 36, is the commander of the Forward Support Company of the Armor Maintenance Battalion of the Mechanized Infantry Division, a job that she said she found “very fulfilling.”
“I feel that our lives have become significant, especially in this mission to liberate Marawi City,” she said.
Working amid fighting
She and her group may not have exchanged fire with the enemy but they found themselves in situations where they were vulnerable to stray bullets or sniper fire.
Buclat said there were times when they had to dash to fix armored personnel carriers (APCs) that broke down in the middle of an assault.
“We had to [get to the APC and] fix it [amid fighting between our troops and the enemy,” she said.
Like any other member of the Mechanized Infantry Division, Buclat trained in armor maintenance.
She rose through the ranks to become the executive officer of the 33rd Mechanized Company of the 3rd Mechanized Battalion based in Tarlac.
Last year, she was named commander of the Forward Support Company and assigned to Maguindanao in May when she received an order for deployment to Marawi.
Brig. Gen. Fel Budiongan, assistant commander of the Mechanized Infantry Division, said it was not common for female officers to be on the front.
But on the front in Marawi, he said, Buclat provided leadership to the mechanics in maintaining the Army’s armor in fighting condition throughout the crisis.
“The boys [on] the battlefield are happy to have her in their midst,” Budiongan said.
“I have also observed that the boys [always try to] look good [whenever] Jovy is around,” he added, joking.
Aside from an end to the war here, there’s one other thing Buclat is looking forward to: a trip to Hong Kong, a reward promised by President Duterte to all female soldiers serving in Marawi.