MANILA - Rodel Nuyles hardly expected a small act of kindness would mark his first day on the field as a police trainee.
The 28-year-old recruit of the PNP field training program (FTP) in Sipocot, Camarines Sur was assigned to patrol the road near the town market at North Centro the morning of April 17.
A line of people had already formed outside a remittance center there, one of them a man who had no face mask on.
Nuyles first approached the man to remind him to wear one or buy one due to local guidelines and because the remittance center only accommodated customers with face masks.
But he said the man, a person with disability who was missing his right hand, told him he had no money.
Instead, the man only used the collar of his shirt to cover his nose and mouth.
"Naawa lang ako kay manong dahil wala daw siyang pambili ng face mask. Saka imbes na sitahin ko siya, imbes na pagalitan siya, binilhan ko na lang siya ng face mask," Nuyles said to ABS-CBN News.
(I felt pity for 'manong' because he could not afford to buy a face mask. So rather than reprimanding him, I decided to him a face mask.)
The police trainee walked to an adjacent general merchandise store and bought a P30 cloth mask.
He then passed it to the man who had continued to wait in line.
"E mura lang po 'yun. Sinabihan ko next time, palagi siyang magsuot ng mask paglabas ng bahay."
([The mask is] cheap anyway. I just told him next time to always wear the mask when leaving the house.)
Nuyles' actions got noticed after the shopkeeper, Rowena Belga Pura, posted on Facebook the video of what happened taken by the store's security camera.
Pura, 43, had sold the face mask to Nuyles.
She told ABS-CBN News she had wondered why the man in police fatigues bought a face mask when he was already wearing one.
Nuyles' purpose only came out when she reviewed the security footage.
"Kahit simple lang pero nakaka-touch siya. What if 'yung taong nakapila, magke-claim siya ng money, what if hindi siya makapasok kasi wala siyang face mask? Wala rin siyang kapera-pera." Pura said.
(What [Nuyles] did was simple, but it was heartfelt. What if the man who lined up to claim money could not get in without a face mask? He would not be able to get any money at all.)
"Naisip ko, magandang i-upload ko ito. Sana dumami ang pulis na katulad niya."
(I thought this would be a good thing to upload. I hope more police officers would be like him.)
Unlike many areas under the enhanced community quarantine, Sipocot's guidelines for wearing face masks in public do not have penalties.
One of Nuyles' training officers, Sr. Msr. Sgt. Miguel Naz Jr., said that while they do not tolerate those without face masks, they also show consideration like his trainee did.
"Sana po ito'y mapagpatuloy naman kahit saan po siyang pumuntang bayan at sana po ay ito'y maging isang halimbawa ng alagad ng batas na tumutulong sa mga taong nangangailangan," Naz said.
(I hope he continues doing good wherever he goes. May this also be an example of an officer of the law who helps those in need.)
Nuyles' field training will last 85 days.
A native of Tabaco, Albay, the former marketing agent said this is his second application to the police.
He said he joined the police force to find a regular, decent job and also to follow the example of his father, a village chairman, in public service.
For him, the appreciation he received for his gesture encouraged him to continue his training.
"Parang mas napapamahal po ako sa trabaho ko. Parang dapat alagaan ko talaga ito, dapat pagbutihin ko ang pagiging isang alagad ng batas," he said.
(Somehow it made me love my work more, and made me realize I should take care of it and do well in upholding the law.)
And at a time when some law enforcers are under scrutiny, Nuyles said he hopes what he did would highlight the good side of their organization.
"Sa panahon ngayon, marami 'yung napupuna sa pulis na ganyan-ganyan, so nagpapasalamat ako sa mga taong nakaka-appreciate sa mga tulad naming mga pulis," he added.
(In this season, many are noticing the police for such-and-such actions, so I am thankful for the people who appreciate us.)
"Masarap sa pakiramdam yung nakakatulong ka sa kapwa kahit simpleng bagay lang po."
(It feels good to help your fellow people even it is just a simple thing.)