MANILA—In Rodolfo 'Pong' Biazon's storied military career spanning over 3 decades, one of his harrowing missions was the 1965 eruption of Taal Volcano.
The former military chief of staff, who was then holding the rank of first lieutenant, led a platoon of Marines to retrieve bodies on the volcano island.
"It left a mark on him because it was one his first few missions after graduating from the PMA (Philippine Military Academy)," his son, Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, told ABS-CBN News.
The 1965 volcanic activity left around 200 people dead and is considered one of Taal's deadliest eruptions.
"They dug up bodies buried under the ash and stayed for at least 2 months to prevent people from returning to the island," the younger Biazon said.
A black-and-white photo marking the event was shared by the younger Biazon on social media following fresh volcanic activity of Taal this week.
"I remembered he had this photo that I was able to save and digitize and it was just a great thing to look back in the past," he said.
The Biazon patriarch graduated at the bottom of the rank of PMA class 1961, earning him the title of "class goat." But he went on to become the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1991.
In 1992, he entered politics and earned a seat in the upper chamber. He was again elected as senator in 1998 and continued to serve until 2010.
During his stint as a lawmaker, the older Biazon co-authored Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010, which strengthened disaster management in the country.