AS the country watches the development at the Philippine Military Academy in the aftermath of the hazing death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio, I got a very interesting message from my Ninong Art, retired PNP chief, General Art Lomibao of PMA ‘Masigasig’ Class of 1972.
Nong Art actually reposted the message amid admissions made by many Peemayers including former PNP chief-now Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa and outgoing PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde that they also underwent hazing from their upperclassmen although those punishments molded them into becoming much better officer.
“I’m reposting this from a Chat Group, in the light of the PMA hazing issue. Although this is addressed to the alumni of the PMA, it would be an interesting reading for those who may want to know the whys and wherefores of the PMA sub-culture that we call hazing, from another perspective...,” said retired Gen. Lomibao, the famed rebel hunter who rose to become the country’s top cop.
He was referring to a letter from a PMA ‘outsider’ which goes:
AN APPEAL TO THE ALUMNI
(From a civilian instructor)
Dear Sirs and Ma’ams,
First, allow me to briefly introduce myself. I am Ena Luga, a part-time civilian instructor at the PMA. Unlike my dedicated colleagues who have been in PMA for a decade or more, I have only recently started teaching in PMA with a 2-year hiatus prior to this Academic Year. My students have been mostly fourth class (first year cadets a.k.a. “plebes”) cadets, and I have been grateful for my time with them even when I end up exhausted from trying to keep them awake in class.
I have not always dreamt of becoming a teacher, but I later realized the impact a teacher can have on her/his students. As such, teaching at PMA is not only a job to me, but a rare privilege to contribute to the molding of this country’s - and MY - future leaders. It is with this mindset that I enter the classroom.
Whenever time permits, I try to learn about my students - who they are, what their thoughts are, and the things they go through. And I try to go beyond our lesson, and go into what I think is more essential for them to learn beyond the academic requirements... and that is the transmission of ideals and principles that my parents have instilled in me.
My father has taught me the following, as he has learned from his dad:
*Courage - it is not only found in the battlefield. Courage is doing what is right AND standing up against what is wrong.
*Integrity - it is going beyond unity within a class or an organization. It is what is done behind closed doors. In the context of the ccafp, it is what is done when there is no upperclass/tac-o/oc roaming around.
*Loyalty - it is not loyalty to a particular individual or organization, but it is being loyal to what is right, true, and just.
With these principles, I try to correct misconceptions and malpractices expressed in my classroom. And I am sure I am not the only one.
Unfortunately, despite our zeal as civilian instructors, we will never have the same impact on cadets as you, the alumni. We remain outsiders, because despite our various affiliations with PMA (being a wife/child/sibling/cousin/grandchild/parent of cadet/s and/or alumni, and being in PMA for decades more), we will never be a part of your organization. We did not go through what you went through inside the barracks. As such, we will never fully comprehend the complexities of cadetship at the PMA.
It is knowing and accepting these facts that I, as an outsider part-time civilian instructor, humbly appeal to you, the alumni, to recognize your continued contribution to the molding of cadets. Even without personal interactions, through various social media platforms, they listen to you. They take what you say as truth - as the standard. They take their cues from you.
In relation to the recent death of Cadet Dormitorio as a result of maltreatment, one of several already in the history of PMA, I beg of you to make a strong, bold, and clear stand against maltreatment in the Corps. Otherwise, this practice will continue to be perpetuated inside the Academy because cadets look up to you, their upperclass, who have undergone such hardships and have made it through.
If, for any reason, you cannot send a strong message to the cadets that this practice is outrightly wrong and unnecessary to their training, then may I suggest that it just be removed from the regulations to stop the confusion arising from the duality of what is being taught to them in principle and in practice. To those who have made a clear and bold stance against maltreatment, thank you.