Story of a young Army officer who defied poverty and pursued his dream

2nd Lt. Jasper Ugali has always dreamed to become a soldier and at the age of 26, he’s already living his life fulfilling dream. But the journey to his destination was never easy. Growing up in a poor family, 2nd Lt. Ugali at a very young age had to work different jobs to earn a living.

"During high school, I worked as a ball boy of Olivarez Tennis Court in Parañaque and did barker in Mercury Drug and cockpit coliseum,” said 2nd Lt. Ugali. “Surviving every day is a challenge, but I never give up,” he added.

When he was in high school, he was the CAT (Citizen Army Training) Corps Commander and wanted to study in the Philippine Military Academy but his parents did not agree with him. After graduating high school, he knew that his parents wouldn't be able to support him in college. That’s when he sought state universities offering cheaper tuition fees to continue his studies.

“During my college, me and my parents collected zest-o boxes from the trash of St. Peter Funeral at night and sold it to the junk shop. I used to eat 5pesos worth of fishball as my viand and what we call kanin-baw or rice and free soup. I also washed buses and use the earnings for my fare to TUP," said 2nd Lt. Ugali recalling his life in college.

To continue his military dream, he joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps Unit of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) and became a scholar. Here he continued to learn how to be stable under pressure, to manage time because he has responsibilities as a student and as a cadet officer, and to become a leader. With dedication and perseverance, he finished college in 2016 with a degree of Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education major in Mechanical Engineering Technology at TUP Manila. He was also the Corps Commander of Arellano University ROTC Unit Masidlak Class of 2015.

"After college, I worked as a crew in a coffee shop at BGC, production assistant in a film industry, ROTC Instructor, and more to support my family,” said 2nd Lt. Ugali. He passed the board exam and become a licensed professional teacher in 2017.

Despite his sacrifices in life, he continued his military science in MS-43 and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Reserve Force as a member of Probationary Officer Training Course Masaligan Class 51-2018. In 2019, he taught as a Senior High School teacher at Arellano University.

However, 2nd Lt. Ugali still can’t take his heart and interest in the military. He entered the Philippine Army Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Forces as a member of Officer Candidate Course Baghawian Class 54-2020. Now, he serves as a Platoon Leader of the 44th Infantry "Agile N' Stable" Batallion, 1st Infantry Division.

“Para sa mga kabataan na nangangarap maging sundalo at hirap sa buhay ngayon, wag na wag susuko. Lahat ng problema may solusyon at hindi tayo bibigyan ng pagsubok ng Diyos na hindi natin kayang lampasan. Magtiwala sila sa Panginoon at sa sarili nila na balang araw makakamit nila lahat ng pangarap nila. Sipag at tiyaga ang kailangan, samahan din ng disiplina,” said 2nd Lt. Ugali.#