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Stupid and deadly

Herbie Gomez .

IT’S the corporal punishment culture in the Armed Forces that has made the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) a breeding ground for hazings.

No other creature in the animal kingdom does this sort of thing to a member of its own species. There are female spiders that have the tendency to eat their mates for reasons related to evolutionary biology. But you won’t see a Black Widow spanking another spider to death while the latter somersaults onto its fangs.

Fighting cocks kill each other, but only because humans make them fight. A chimpanzee could beat the hell out of another monkey. Horses kick each other, and dogs bite each other. Whenever that happens, these creatures always have a reason, most likely because they feel threatened. I guess that’s an animal thing. But these animals don’t do that as part of some ritual. Only humans to that.

Hazings are devoid of reason and morality. There is no way that can be called discipline. Neither is it cool nor does it guarantee that plebes subjected to that experience would become better soldiers. In fact, it teaches the military trainees to violate a Philippine law — the Anti-Hazing Law — and shut up like it’s some kind of an omerta. Now, isn’t that exactly how corruption is done?

I did many stupid things when I was in high school, and one was to allow myself to get beaten up. For that, I got summoned to the nun principal’s office, and I ended up getting slapped with a suspension.  I know what takes place during these initiations. I’ve been there, I’ve done that (although not in the PMA). I “graduated” only because the paddle used on me broke midway during the frat ritual. That was stupid — and potentially deadly.

Now, I want the PMA to answer this: If you are really instilling discipline and teaching your trainees to follow laws (including the Anti-Hazing Law), then why is cadet Darwin Dormitorio from Cagayan de Oro dead as a result of hazing?

Grow up, PMA. You wouldn’t want to produce generals with brains damaged by too much head bangings. Don’t beat the kids there black and blue. If you do that, they’d be shell-shocked by graduation day, even before they see the actual battlefield, because you and your twisted tradition messed up their brains so badly during their training days. This probably explains the brainless red taggings of just about any Tom, Dick and Harry by some of your graduates.

Rather than hazings, why won’t the PMA encourage plebes to do more brain exercises? “Punish” them by making them read more books, including Karl Marx for purposes of comparison, and so that they could see where he was coming from. That way, if they’re not convinced, they could punch holes into his ideas, his philosophy, The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. That way, this country would have future generals who are critical thinkers, and not the kind who see activism and the parliament of the streets as armed rebellion rather than an exercise of civil liberties. That way, they would see the Mao cap or the hammer and sickle not as boogeymen but as harmless symbols of ideas that can’t be killed by guns and bombs but can be rejected and easily demolished with the use of better ideas. Pastilan.


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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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