Barazel “Bob” Salazar: From Security Guard
and Ateneo Professor, to PAL Executive
By Apolinario Villalobos
I met him when I had a short tour-of-duty (TDY) in Masbate as a ticket clerk, a few months after I joined PAL, and when Tablas station (my first assignment) was temporarily closed for runway improvement. During the time, the station Supervisor was Rudy Cid and the Load Controller was Jolly Fernandez, who resigned from PAL to run for mayor of the said town, against one of the Espiἧosas, and although, he won, his stint was cut short by his violent death from the hands of an assassin.
I vividly recalled the day when Bob and Rudy Cid asked me to leave the check-in counter during my confrontation with one of the bodyguards of the mayor (an Espiἧosa) as regards their package using the “padala system”. Although, the said system could be tolerated for compassionate reason, some parties abuse it, and being new, I was very strict in following the rules that I learned during my training. I had no knowledge then, about the local politics in Masbate, and it was only when the flight has left that they explained to me everything…about the Espiἧosas. From then on, Bob became more vigilant in checking during flight days if personalities that could provoke me at the check-in counter were around. If none, I was allowed to go on with my checking in of passengers.
I had no idea of how Bob was able to break into the airline industry. I was surprised then, when during a meeting lately, he told me that he went through a series of discouraging and harrowing experience before finally securing a job in PAL as a Ticket/Freight Clerk. His father was a Court Interpreter while his mother was a school teacher who died when he was in second year high school. His father did not remarry but took care of them, instead. It was during the time when they experienced receiving food from the relatives. He did not pursue his college education when he graduated from high school. To help his family, he did odd jobs selling newspapers, cleaning buses, working at construction sites, and as surveyor assistant. While still in college, he decided to settle down at age 19, but did not abandon his studies with the consent of his wife who helped him financially until he graduated. During the time, he was working as a security guard, an inspiring fact that he proudly divulged to me without any qualm.
After graduating from college, he worked as Inventory Clerk, and shortly, joined PAL as Ticket/ Freight Clerk assigned in Masbate station, But when he was assigned in Naga as Station Agent, he pursued his Master’s Degree at the University of Nueva Caceres. To help him augment his income he taught a the Ateneo de Naga in the evening. He was able to finish his MBA in 1987, and the following year, he was assigned back to Masbate but at the time, as Branch Manager. He moved on as Branch Manager of San Jose (Mindoro) in 1992. His teaching and post-graduate studies were cut short when he was transferred to other stations on temporary duty. But when he was assigned in Manila, he did his best to finish his Master’s with success.
Our path again crossed when he was assigned at International Sales Office at S and L building along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City. That was the time when the Philippines and Guam Region was merged with the International Sales-Philippines which was considered as the company’s sales “flagship”. When I left the company, I learned about his series of promotions that he more than deserved. He was promoted as Product Manager in 1998; assigned in Iloilo as Branch Manager in year 2000; Cargo Marketing Manager in Manila up to 2005 during which he authored the RHUSH which raked in millions of dollars of cargo revenue for the company. Still in 2005, he was promoted as Asst. VP for Visayas; and, finally, in 2010, sent to Japan as Country Manager. Today, he is happily retired, but grateful to PAL with which he spent more than half of his fruitful life.