COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
In one of our club meetings at the Toastmasters Club several years ago, I delivered my second basic speech that portrayed the threat within the military, an establishment considered to be solid and intact but at times rocked with problems of disunity.
I posed myself as a soldier and made an appeal to the military rebels composing the members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, Soldiers of the Filipino People and the Young Officers Union.
That observation I would like to raise again as the situation is reflective of the changing faces of our organizations today. To wit:
“For several times in the past, you have graced the papers with news of public outbursts – from mutinies to coup d’etats, jailbreaks and putsches.
The boldness of your actions is alarming that I fear the military establishment is producing men too strong and free-willed to belong to the world of command. There must be some grave reasons for your disaffection and disillusionment with the system in our organization and the bigger affairs of the nation as to resort to indiscriminate acts of violence on your part.
How grave those reasons might be, we must always remember our basic aims in military service. As men in uniform, we are entrusted with the responsibility of defending our country from internal and external threats to national security.
Not all men are given that privilege to do honorable service to their country and their countrymen. Not all men are called to a life of discipline and obedience. And not all men can be proud members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Indeed these are difficult and trying times for many of us, and the very times when a stronghold is needed to be depended upon for our nation’s survival. United, we pose as a stronghold in this time of crisis and a structure that is most likely to survive when the worst of situations come. Divided, we only bring chaos and calamity to the country we aim to preserve and can become the very victims of our own ways of destruction.
However, it is improbable that the mainstream of the military will move to your side. On the other hand, what can be fitting and necessary is for you to go back to the fold and help strengthen the very institution we are in. What must always prevail is for us to remain solid and dependable. For it is better for us to move in one direction, in peace or in war, than for many of us to spread apart.
There has been a lot of wasted and diffused energy that caused a lot of destruction in the past events. Rather than solely fighting the forces of the left, we engage in an unwanted battle with forces of fellow soldiers on the right. A divided military is a weak military, and our disunity is a costly event in the face of a common enemy.
Let us therefore humble ourselves and erase all pride and hypocrisy. Together must we fight to defend justice, freedom, and democracy – and for all.