MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine Army gave an Award of Merit to Sergeant Raffy Braga, a soldier who found and returned two checks amounting to almost P350,000.00 in Fort Bonifacio last February.
Braga was recognized for his honesty. He was driving in the Fort area when he saw the checks being blown around in the street. He picked it up and immediately surrendered it at the Army headquarters, where the owner picked it up.
"I’m so happy, my family will be so proud of me. Not every soldier gets this award. In my 17 years of service, to be recognized for honesty is an honor," said Braga in Filipino.
He said his father taught him the value of honesty, and that he wishes to impart the same lesson to his sons.
"I got my children through their schooling by my own sweat and tears,” Braga said. "I would get bank loans just to meet their tuition. My father always said, if it is not yours, don't steal it."
This isn't the first time he's displayed honesty. Braga said he also returned a wallet he found when he was assigned in Mindanao.
Army Spokesperson Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato said the recognition of Braga for his honesty is part of their campaign to actively search for acts of honor within the Army.
Normal AFP procedures require personnel to recognize themselves and do the paperwork for their own recognition. The Army leadership however acknowledges the fact that many soldiers are too shy to do this for themselves, hence the change.
Aside from the plaque, civilian partners of the Army donated a complete set of full battle attire, including combat boots. Grocery items were also given to Braga.