Sara's mandatory military service agenda 'nightmarish' to the youth – teacher's group

Published January 22, 2022, 1:08 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Faculty at the University of the Philippines under the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) criticized vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte’s proposal to require military service for all Filipinos and called out the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the “unquestioning obedience” it fostered as an institution.


In a statement on Saturday, Jan. 22, CONTEND’s spokesperson Lakan Umali said that it would be nightmarish to force all Filipinos, especially the youth, to participate in a flawed military organization that has blind obedience and human rights violations as its hallmark

The UP teacher’s group urged the public to outrightly reject Duterte in the 2022 elections for militaristic tendencies that do not depart from her father’s policies.

CONTEND mentioned that there are many ways to foster discipline and nationalism in the youth without the military further encroaching in civilian life.

“Instead of giving a blank check for counter-insurgency, the state should provide better funding to health, educational, artistic, sports, and cultural institutions so that young Filipinos can participate in a wide variety of fruitful activities without the looming presence of the military,” said.

Umali emphasized the role of the Philippine military as an instrument to brutally quell Filipino anti-colonial resistance during the American colonial period and dissent especially during the Marcos dictatorship and now under the Duterte regime.

He cited documentation by rights group Karapatan from 2016 of 2021 of 424 extrajudicial killings of activists, 18 forced disappearances, 223 cases of torture, and thousands of cases of bombings, harassment, indiscriminate firing, and the use of school grounds for military activities.

“Considering the massive failure of the militarized response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot allow the continued supremacy of the military in nearly every aspect of governance and public life,” UP Professor and CONTEND member Karlo Mongaya said.