Monday, February 26, 2007

Redemption in the Anvil and another article

I have a reason to celebrate. Standing in the rear this morning during the early morning flag raising ceremony, it was announced to the whole PMA community that the Corps magazine was awarded the Anvil Award for best Public Relation Tool as a School magazine (I do not exactly know the official award but this is what I was told). Although I am done with the Corps Magazine now, I have been a part of all the issues that came out in the last 3 years or so and have always aspired to come up with good articles, took the extra effort to really find some good story and really did my best. And so, in my silence standing so far away from where everybody's attention was directed, I could just be glad that somehow I was part of something good for the Academy.
I am actually contemplating on redemption. Its not that I want to take credit for the award but in state, after what I have been through, somehow, I am looking for something that will redeem myself from the allegations thrown at me as a result of the article I was supposed to write. Just imagine how hard it was for me to forego any break until August of this year just because someone was offended when I asked about people's opinion on something that I was writing on. Of course that also include some harsh words, certain deprivation of the things that I like to do (writing that is) and definitely the fear that it has caused me when it dawned on me that I just might lose my cadetship. You could just imagine how redeeming it was when something that you did is recognized. Not to mention the fact that it was my words that carried the Corps Magazine to that Award (I wrote the write-up that came with the 6 issues included in the package that was the basis for the award). I may seem desperate or just craving for recognition, but when my very credibility is questioned and my innocence is doubted its the things that I have done that will somehow redeem me just as how it is with this Anvil Award. I really pray for some redemption what has happened has happened I just want my credibility back.
Well just for your consumption, I am publishing another one of my great pieces (ehem!!!):


This one was written when the PMA Command announced an essay writing contest for the 2004 Foundation Day celebrations. I won the cadet category of that contest and was publicly awarded by no less than then the Superintendent and the Commandant of Cadets. The topic is somewhat serious as this deals with PMA's pursuit for excellence but nevertheless I still think this is a good one.... Enjoy.

“I am a member of the Cadet Corps. I live on taxes of my countrymen; I do everything to prepare myself in protecting the Filipino people and when the time comes, I am expected to put my life on the line for the good of my country.”

You may call that a creed of some sort, a line that maybe frightening as it calls for a sacrifice of life, but then that is what is expected of me and to all the other members of the prestigious Cadet Corps Armed forces of the Philippines. Here in this institution, we are thought to be noble men that will be ready to face anything in defense of the motherland. And so this brings me to the role of the Philippine Military Academy in producing men of noble character, men of great patriotism and of course side by side with this goal is the Academy’s pursuit of excellence. Whatever level of excellence the Academy can offer, that will be the same level of excellence that the graduates will exemplify the moment they are given that elusive rank on their shoulders. In PMA, young men and women with dreams are gathered. They are given a full government scholarship and then in four years time, the country watches as they are molded into the finest men and women of character, of courage integrity and loyalty and, of course, of excellence.

The Philippine Military Academy has been undergoing so many changes. It is also undeniable that so much has been said on these programs. Some say, that it is a desperate attempt to please the people who have been criticizing the way PMA cadets are trained. Still others say that it is because of pressures from various sectors that are angry with the military, the academy included. This is the dilemma, the pursuit for excellence in a changing PMA amidst the various opinions of different sectors, all this in the hope that the graduates will be men that will exemplify the highest order of character and love for country. That, in itself, can be a frightening dilemma, a seemingly impossible goal or maybe an expectation too great to achieve.

This generation of cadets are in a period of confusion. There are those who were already cadets before the changes were implemented such that they have been raised in a different culture that the command is now trying to change. And, of course, the new breeds, those that are totally unaware of how it was before and are the focus of attention of everybody, those that are believed to break the status quo, the hope of the Academy. This is a very interesting characteristic as it provides a distinction on the different points of view of cadets regarding the pursuit of excellence. And so we go to another question, how do we pursue excellence in an environment where everybody does agree on what to pursue? These generations of cadets are the key in pursuing excellence in the academy. In my point of view, pursuing excellence at this point of time is getting rid of the culture of malpractices that have developed through the years. Sad to say, malpractices in the Cadet Corps has become a culture that has evolved through the years, unchecked and becoming more and more grave each generation. Unknowingly, cadets have adopted this practices and accepting it as simply natural and thus the cycle goes on and on creating a status quo that is now deeply rooted within the ranks of the Cadet Corps. When I was a plebe I hated being hazed, being “shabbied” and being subjected to so many things that I can not understand. As a result, I promised myself that I will never do anything that I hated to any of my future underclassmen. Later on, I realized that my attitude has changed towards things. I always reasoned that it is never the fault of any cadet to be exposed to the malpractices that he or she was subjected to or is doing to his or her underclass. I was just convinced that every malpractice that I hated is enough reason for me to go on with my training bearing in mind that in the long run, it will be my turn to be an upperclassmen and when that time comes it will also be my turn to practice what I think is the antidote to those malpractices that I hated. The pursuit of excellence in this changing PMA environment, I believe, is not about programs being implemented by the Command, it is about how to change the existing culture of cadets. The cadets may adapt to the programs being implemented and eventually they will figure out ways on how to tamper with these programs for their advantage, but the way I see it the cadet culture should deviate from this present culture. The new culture should be a culture where a cadet refuses to subject his or her subordinates to the corruption that he has been exposed to. A culture where “snappity” is not based on comparison as to how the previous classes went through cadetship, more particularly plebehood, but based on the how each cadet is trying his best to live up to the ideals of the academy and the expectations of the Filipino people. As a line in Desiderata say:”Do not compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter.” Yes, some cadets are bitter, not for some valid reason but because they chose to be bitter. They’d rather see their underclassmen undergo the same corruption that they were subjected to rather than work towards the elimination of these practices. They are so bitter that they fail to see beyond the malpractice and realize that something must be done to stop this. They are bitter because they do not realize that it is only through their acts of change, being part of the prevailing culture, will this situation be stopped. Little acts, yes, little acts.

This is the sad reality of the present generation of cadets. I do not wish to put the Corps in bad light, but then this is reality and as men of courage, it is an act of courage accept this and make the necessary corrections. The pursuit of excellence of this noble institution is anchored in the kind of attitude that the cadets will exercise in response to the changes being implemented by the administration. It is true that some of the changes that were implemented are drastic yet, it is also the role of any soldier to accept these changes even if they do not necessarily agree with it. Any responsible soldier will accept that no one is fit to command unless he or she has learned to obey. It is in this context that I base my opinion that the cadets play the major role in PMA’s pursuit for excellence. They work hand in hand with the command in doing what is necessary to eliminate the Academy of the prevailing bad culture and at the same time it is also because of them that this bad culture should be eradicated.

All in all, above everything, it is the role of the cadets that should be the top priority in the Academy’s pursuit to excellence. It is only through the effort of each and every member of the cadet corps that PMA will be successful in truly being excellent. As each cadet realizes that the status quo should be broken, each cadet should make the initiative to do what he or she think is right and start planting the seeds for excellence. It is only when one starts doing something that something actually happens. One little effort may not show much effect immediately but sooner or later it will show something. Our stay as cadets here may not be long enough to see the effects of these little efforts but then we do not have a choice, its either we move forward or remain stagnant and prepare for doom. At the end of the day all we can really do is to live up to the highest level of excellence in every aspect of cadetship.

“I am a member of the Cadet Corps. I live on taxes of my countrymen; I do everything to prepare myself in protecting the Filipino people and when the time comes, I am expected to put my life on the line for the good of my country.”

And if I may add:

“Because I am a member of the Corps and because the country is relying on what I can do in making sure that they enjoy all the benefits of our democracy, I should also pursue the highest level of excellence in everything that I do, identifying what should be retained in the current system and taking part in being a catalyst to what lies ahead in the bright future of my beloved Alma Mater and my country in general”

“…Give us that honest purpose in life which seeks fair deal with everyone and shuns all forms of hypocrisy that will enkindle our fighting faith and smother all seeds of cowardice and fear in our hearts; the loyalty to our principles that places all issues above personal considerations and shuns compromise with vice and injustice…”

-- The Cadet’s Prayer --

1 comment:

ian said...

Belated congratulations on the superb essay and a hearty handshake for the Anvil.

Nawa'y dumami pa ang katulad mo sa kasundaluhan na articulate, tapat sa tungkulin, at may di matatawarang pagmamahal sa pamilya, bayan at Diyos.

Ang katulad mo ang isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit may pag-asa pa talaga ang Pilipinas.