An officer who rose from the ranks and life of poverty
He is a high-ranking officer of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)- a picture of distinction, confidence and discipline. As the official PCG spokesperson, you may have seen him on television warning the public on an impending danger or calming them after a tragic incident on the Philippine shores.
He is Commander Arman Balilo: a former World Vision sponsored child.
Arman grew up in the slums of Caloocan City, where poverty and misery was the norm. Right after school, he would sell rice cakes to help put food on the table. On other days, he would sell quail eggs and newspapers near the local high school. “Pag di pa kasya yung kinita ko para makakain kaming pamilya, maghahanap pa ako ng scrap gaya ng bote at metal para maibenta ko, pandagdag sa kita,” Arman shares with World Vision.
Arman also recalled the days he would go to Sunday School, “I would attend class shirtless, my face laced with mud. But one day, during what probably was the darkest time in my life, I came across World Vision. Nilapitan ako ng isang WV project staff, inimbita niya kami ng mother ko to know what World Vision is all about, what it can do to help me and my family. I eventually joined the WV Child Sponsorship Program and to make a long story short, it changed my life.”
Suddenly he had opportunity. But Arman knew it wouldn’t be easy. He had to walk some 10 kilometers to and from his high school. Every single day. “Getting to school ws the least of my concerns. While my classmates never had to worry, I couldn’t even afford to buy a single piece of bond paper or find a working typewriter for school projects.”
In college, as his friends partied and splurged on fun and food, Arman had to do with bread and instant noodles during lunch breaks. Instead of giving up, it made Arman even more determined to keep his grades up and earn a college degree. He knew that education was his ticket to a better life.
Today, Commander Armando Balilo a public servant and an inspiration to his loved ones and former poor community, is blessed with a loving wife and two beautiful daughters. He is also currently sponsoring two children from Palawan.
-Cdr. Armand Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard