Thursday, July 12, 2012

Philippine military men no longer warriors?

MANILA, Philippines - Much of the military’s time that was supposed to be used for combat training are being diverted to roles of civilian agencies that could not perform their tasks, a magazine of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said.

An article of the magazine “The Air Force Way” released over the weekend said the military’s role has expanded partly because of the inability of many civilian agencies to perform their mandate.

The article said the military is performing the functions of these agencies even if support to civilian bodies is just secondary to the core function of war fighting.

“In reality, much of the time and activities that should have been devoted to combat training and preparation are being used to fulfill these (civilian agencies’ roles) tasks,” the magazine article read.

“One needs only to read AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) anniversary programs or yearly reports to see this trend,” it added.

The “Air Force Way” magazine was published to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the PAF. Copies of the magazine were distributed by the PAF to journalists last Friday.

The AFP is performing civilian tasks like medical missions, school construction and clean-up projects due to its internal security plan “Bayanihan” which took effect in 2011.

The PAF article said critical combat capabilities “have been lost or transformed into capabilities that are oriented towards supporting civilians and not soldiers.”

“Such diversion of missions and capabilities had given rise to a situation wherein people in the military no longer considered themselves as warriors,” the article read.

“Instead, they perceived themselves as policemen, relief workers, educators, builders, health care providers, politicians – everything but war fighters,” it added.

The article noted that the AFP does not have a combat engineering capability but has several civil engineering brigades.

The magazine article also noted the seeming lack of interest in military theory and history within the AFP.

It claimed that there is scarcity of studies on these subjects even in AFP General Staff Courses.

“Yet ironically, foreign armed forces have seen more value in Philippine military history by thoroughly studying it than, with rare exceptions, their Filipino counterparts,” the PAF article read.

The magazine article said the military seems to have no inclination to develop a program to systematically collate, organize, and analyze its records.

It noted that majority of AFP officers have preference for courses like business or public administration despite the fact that civilian institutions have already offered courses in military-related subjects.

The PAF article said the AFP should address the issue of military professionalism “by returning to its traditional or war fighting roots.”

“After all, the ultimate test of (a) military professional is whether he or she can prevail in war over an adversary. These could be one and would reflect in training, indoctrination and the education of the personnel,” it read.

Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star | July 9, 2012 | Article Link

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