He was scheduled to attend a two-month training in Switzerland earlier this February. But there was a problem: the dates clashed with his In-Camp Training (ICT).
It was an important work trip – Captain (CPT) (NS) Muhammed Saufi Bin Abdul Rashid had been tasked to learn about a new manufacturing equipment in Switzerland and to transfer the technology to Singapore.
He was the only specialist technician in the company to be assigned for the project.
Nevertheless, his manager Mr Armando Gabat made arrangements for CPT (NS) Saufi to postpone the trip so that he could attend his ICT.
"Initially, I was worried as we're already planning the training schedule together with our counterpart in Switzerland," said Mr Gabat, a technical manager at Medtronic Singapore Operations.
"But every country has its own National Service policy. We have to support and embrace it. We all know that it's a contribution to the country," said the 45-year-old Filipino. He has been working in Singapore for the last 13 years.
For his strong support for NS, Mr Gabat received the National Service (NS) Advocate Award for Individuals this year.
A total of 148 NS Advocates Awards were presented to 91 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), 34 Large Companies, 15 Organisations and 8 Individuals.
The award is the highest accolade conferred on businesses, organisations and individuals in recognition of their exemplary support towards Total Defence and NS.
Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, who was the Guest of Honour at the virtual event, thanked the recipients of the NS Advocate Awards, national servicemen and employers for their continued support of Total Defence and NS.
He also said: "We do not know the precise course global and regional events will take in the years and decades to come. But we know changes will come. All we can do is to ensure we remain intact and emerge stronger amid these changes.
"We keep vigilant, continue strengthening our defence capabilities, build partnerships with other friendly countries and stand together solidly as one people for Total Defence."
Mr Gabat was nominated by CPT (NS) Saufi for the award.
"Lots of consideration was needed as I was the only Specialist Tech assigned for the project. I'm grateful that Mr Gabat understood the importance of my ICT," said the 32-year-old.
With his manager's support, CPT(NS) Saufi was able to attend his ICT without worrying about his work.
It's not surprising that Mr Gabat is a strong supporter of NS. Having attended the Reserve Officers Training Corps during his college days in the Philippines, he has a deep understanding of defence and security.
He also grew up in a military family – his father and elder brother are retired Army officers in the Philippines.
Asked why he feels that Total Defence is critical for businesses, Mr Gabat said: "A strong defence is not only important for businesses; NS training also helps to nurture our personnel's discipline, sense of responsibility and teamwork."