Why Filipino society has trouble reconciling its values with the military’s honor code

220px-TheCadetHonorCodeMonumentHas anyone considered that perhaps it’s not the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) per se that has a problem? Honor is not a strong part of Filipino tradition, especially because Filipino civilian society is not accustomed to following rules. Filipino civil society encourages its members to lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead, and to tolerate those who do so. Hell, it even encourages that those who do so brazenly be voted into government.

Life within an academy’s walls is heavily regimented; life outside is the extreme opposite. Perhaps someone can tell us how PMA graduates are expected to stick to the honor code when the world they face once they are outside of the academy encourages Filipinos to lie, cheat, and steal, and punishes and ostracizes them for doing the right thing.

In essence, 4 years inside a regimented environment, even with strict adherence to the honor code, is nothing against life in the bigger society that hosts the academy yet encourages behavior that is the exact opposite.

Perhaps Filipinos should not be quick to isolate this as a problem of the military, the PMA in particular, but look at it as part of the bigger underlying dysfunction found in Philippine society.

Now the military may not live up to its cherished principle/s perfectly – i.e. all 100% of cadets and officers who pass through the academy’s walls – in practice, and it may also be an institution that is rather slow to adapt to changes in circumstances, given that its chain-of-command is structured in an extremely top-heavy manner. But it is an educated guess of mine that the military as an institution possesses a degree of self-awareness and intellectual honesty. This enables them to self-correct any flaws that they perceive within their system, weed out those elements that don’t conform to it, and allows them to continuously work towards getting as damn near close to 100% abidance to their code as humanly possible.

I’m not defending the military, but sooner or later, Filipinos need to learn how to respect institutions, and to live with and by them. What annoys me to no end about Filipino civilian society is that its members would rather complain that they are being persecuted by an unfair/unjust system rather than improve it while working within bounds of what is acceptable as dictated by it. The other thing that annoys me to death is that they externalize – i.e., blame it on others – things which they have a modicum of control and influence, and especially accountability, over.

Cadet Aldrin Cudia knew very well the system he was getting into when he was a plebe. He screwed up towards the end; tough luck and too bad for him. He should have stopped his sister from bringing it to social media. Because he didn’t, an unnecessary drama was the result.

[Inspired by an article in Get Real Post]

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3 thoughts on “Why Filipino society has trouble reconciling its values with the military’s honor code

  1. Whoever is faultless, at fault or a saint is ultimately all speculation at this point. What has been established as fact is that the Honor Committee found that Mr. Cudia violated the Honor Code. Which is why I said “he screwed up.” He screwed up at following the rules set by the Philippine Military Academy which he subjected himself to for four years.

    Filipino civilians may not like those rules. Hell, they don’t really like rules in general anyway. But as I said above, someday, somehow, Filipino civilians have to start learning how to respect and strengthen institutions, and work within acceptable bounds of what is allowed in them.

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