I’M referring to a good brilliant friend, Brigadier General Noel ‘Bary’ Baraceros who retired from the police service last August 3 after more than eight years of being the ‘Game Changer’ in the Philippine National Police’s transformation journey. His final task at the PNP was seeing its Performance Governance System ‘Institutionalization’ which is really an unparalleled feat.
A former United Nations peacekeeper who became a long-time aide to former President Fidel V. Ramos, Bary actually became the Deputy Director of the PNP Center for Police Strategy Management from January 2011 to December 2014 and went on to become its head from January 2015 until he retired three weeks ago.
He belongs to the illustrious Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986, the Class that has produced two PNP chiefs in the person of now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa and Gen. Oscar Albayalde. I knew from heart he was given the chance to occupy a post that would earn him his 2nd star but he decided to remain with the CPSM.
On Friday, I took the time to read a coffee table book on Bary which detailed his humble beginnings in Lupao, Nueva Ecija where he became known for reading books while at a very young age until he grew older to weather many storms and make a difference in his country. Here are some excerpts from the book:
“This book is a tribute to the man who, despite several challenges, trials and obstacles, remained steadfast and committed to the success of the organizations’ vision towards a real and lasting transformation. In the words of Matshona Dhilwayo, “In a world full of game player, the only way to set yourself apart is to be a game changer.”—another PMA Class 1986 member, Lieutenant GeneralCamilo Pancratius Cascolan, the PNP Chief of Directorial Staf and chairman of the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030 Technical Working Group
“The first year was a rugged journey, it was skirmish but Noel stood with me. I remember the time when we spent sleepless nights cascading the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030 around the country trying to explain its merits. We braved the harsh comments and negative attitudes of what we termed ‘cavemen’ in our initial cascading of the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030,”-retired Brig. Gen. Rex Milton Dolino, PMA Class 1981, former Director, CPSM
“I had the chance of seeing at close quarters what kind of leader Noel is. He led, gave directions and never acted like a boss in leading his personnel but rather that of a father figure. He never wavered in his commitment to the PNP transformation program as he led and directed CPSM on the path of its mandate.”—Dolino
“Heart of a Champion.”—this is from Lieutenant Colonel Angela Salaya, an officer who will always remember Bary’s ‘Kaya yan, Kaya yan’ advice to his men. Salaya was a member of the PNP Volleyball Team which participated in the 2017 World Police and Fire Games Beach Volleyball in Hermosa Bach, California, USA.
Pitted against the giant Russian policewomen, the PNP team was on the verge of losing and failing to advance to the semi-finals against the tough Brazilian and Canadian teams. The score was 15-19, the Russians ahead, needing only two points to win the game. However, Salaya said she can’t forget the day that Bary told them ‘Kaya yan, Kaya yan. Bring home the bacon, go for the gold.’
“The other teams are now siding with The Philippines. They are now seeing the impossible thing—how can these small policewomen go against, more so catch up with the Russians? I kept on shouting ‘Kaya yan,” Kaya yan,” Salaya said. The PNP team made the impossible, rallying to beat the mighty Russians and eventually defeating the Canadian and Brazilian teams in the next two games to grab the Gold Medal. Credit it to Bary.
“His story is not a personal one, rather, that of the organization he held dearly to his heart. His story is not only a journey, but a commitment upheld until his last day in the service, so that the future generation will have a PNP that is willing to serve others unselfishly and be the game changes the nation rightfully deserve.”—Faith Tiukinhoy, a PNP Non-Uniformed Personnel
“The first word that she uttered was ‘surdo’-an Ilocano word that means ‘sutil o pilyo’ in Filipino/Tagalog; in English, ‘playful and naughty.’ He loved to make fun of his sisters. We agreed that he wanted to pursue engineering, that’s why he enrolled in Mapua, only to find out later that he joined the PMA,” -Bary’s mother Nanay Sofing
“Ayoko sana kasi baka mapahamak siya o mamatay siya sa PMA. But my son told me, “Kahit nasaan ka, kahit natutulog ka pa, mamamatay ka kung oras mo na.” Bary’s father relented and asked her to let their son pursue what he wants. The rest is history. “I thank God for He is indeed so good to us, because Noel, my son, you never gave me and your father any form of heartache or headache. You are such a good son. Your heart is so pure. I am happy that soon you will be ending your career unblemished.’—Nanay Sofing
But this is what me and my wife loved most.
“What we had was not love-at-first-sight. We met through our common friends and my relatives and I didn’t even notice him at first. But as days passed, I saw that there was something different about him.
“We then became friends before the long distance courtship began. And after several months, we became a couple. We have been together for four years when the coup d’ etat of December 1989 happened. Perhaps, some sort of realization hit him, I think, and so he asked me to marry him. And without much thought, I said yes.
“Being married to him is not easy. I have to be independent, rely on myself, and be able to make decisions on my own because oftentimes he would be away for long periods of time. He would miss many occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, even Christmases and New Years. But he would write and send letters, to try to compensate for his absence. He is not the ‘sweet’ type but he is caring in his own way.
“Now, we enjoy our moments together watching movies or just be comfortable in each other’s silence. He would read a book or do a take home work while I keep myself busy with my pets and plants. Our story is that of friendship and partnership, of patience and forgiveness. It is not perfect and it’s still a work in progress. “Every LOVE STORY is beautiful. But OURS is my favorite.” Bary’s wife, Mrs. Genievee ‘Bebs’ Baraceros.