House Deputy Speaker and BUHAY Party list Rep. Lito Atienza on Thursday, Jan. 22 described as a “step in the wrong direction” the proposal of vice presidential rival Sara Duterte for mandatory military service for Filipinos upon reaching 18 years old.
Atienza, runningmate of PROMDI standard bearer Sen. Manny Pacquiao, said he disagrees with the Davao City mayor’s views on the issue which was also criticized by another vice presidential aspirant, former Rep. Walden Bello.
Bello decried Sara’s remarks on mandatory military service for all Filipinos, saying that it was “a mask off moment for the dictator-in-waiting.”
The presidential daughter returned fire by airing the hope “that our youth do not grow up to be a Walden Bello”, describing him as an “ungrateful citizen”.
Atienza sided with Bello but merely on whether or not military training should be forced on the youth.
“Rather than giving them military training, we should strengthen their civic consciousness and capability to respond to problems that affect the nation and Filipinos in general,” he said.
“We have already finally dispensed with the mandatory military training in the past, realizing that it is of no real use developing the youth towards this end,” the House official stated.
“We are constantly visited by weather disturbances and severe climate conditions such as typhoons, landslides, earthquake and the like. We should be moulding our youth today to become more conscious of their civic duties and become better citizens,” Atienza said.
The former Manila mayor lamented that while government has already prepared geohazard maps showing disaster prone areas in the country, there remains no proper utilization of the charts.
“By not using the geohazard maps we had prepared, the country is almost always caught flatfooted and unprepared, simply because of the lack of effort from the national government to harness volunteerism and civic action in times of crisis,” he explained.
Atienza stated: “We can be better prepared if we add a little more training for the youth of today and give them a bigger role in disaster preparedness. Military training is not the answer.”