An Officer and a Gentle Mom

By Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2011 01:47 PM | Updated as of Apr 13 2011 09:47 PM

Gen. Ramona Go: 1st Philippine Army woman general

For someone who entered the military out of curiosity, Brig. Gen. Ramona Palabrica-Go, has come a long way to be the 1st Philippine Army woman general in its 114-year history.

Go was promoted to brigadier general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last March 28 and took her oath on April 4. She
is 54 years old.

"Hindi ko inambition...curious lang ako," said Go who graduated with BS Chemistry at the Central Philippine University in IloIlo.  

Go rose from the ranks starting as a private (enlisted personnel) to become the current AFP assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel.

From being a private, Go passed the exam to train as an officer at the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps School.

She is also the first woman Army pilot and, in 2003, became the commanding officer of the Army Aviation Battalion.

Go said she never had a hard time working for a male-dominated organization. "Hindi ako nagko-compete sa kanila, sa sarili ko lang."

Go said that as a woman, she can never compete with the men when it comes to physical abilities. "Never we could compete sa physical na ko-kompetensya sa pag-iisip," she said.

But Go said she is a sharpshooter and does even better than some of the military men.

"As a woman, kailangan tayo ang maging liwanag...hindi dapat maging tinik," said Go.

Go has never gone to the battlefield. "I want to do peace, walang killings, but if I have to hold a gun and go out there, I'm ready to do that," she said.

Go said her primary job is to look after the morale and welfare of the AFP. In a sense, she is like their mother.

"Iyong morale ng sundalo, opisyal o enlisted, napakaimportante. Kung ang morale ng sundalo ay mababa, apektado lahat, pati ang Republika," said Go.

She admitted she is hurt about the perception that the military is the most corrupt agency. She said those who are guilty of corruption must be punished but the system also needs to be changed.

"Hindi lang ang Armed Forces, ang sistema, paano ba binibigyan ng pondo ang Armed Forces?"

She said there are a lot of good men in the military.

"It's very hurting especially if you are doing your job. Pero parang gold iyan eh. ‘Pag nilagay mo sa apoy, nawawala ang impurities...this is just temporary," said Go.

With all her success and accomplishment, Go could not help but be emotional when it comes to her family and 3 children.

"When I can't be with them, I would just tell them may red alert. Sabi ng anak ko, ‘Mommy galit ako diyan sa red alert.’ I will just embrace her and tell her this is my job. Gagawa at gagawa ka ng paraan, may mga times na priority ang trabaho, meron ding times na sila," explained Go.

Asked why she is still with the AFP, she said, "Because I love the service and my country," as she wiped away her tears.