A career in the military

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Atty. Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
A career in the military
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejano.
STAR/ File

Back in the day, it seemed, many children dreamt of being in the armed forces.

We saw it in their play, and we saw it in their interests, from their cache of toys like the ubiquitous G.I. Joe, to toy guns, battleships, and fighter planes. As I kid, I enjoyed military battle gear, playing war games with friends.

Methinks Hollywood, and even the local movies, had a lot to do with it, where tales of bravery, heroism, and valor were aplenty, running abreast with the fascination for the hardware and technology that was inherent in warfare.

So, a lot of kids had, at one point, dreamt of becoming a soldier, a sailor, a pilot, a commander, or a general in the military because these were heroes in the eyes of children.

I’m uncertain if the present generation of youngsters still harbors that dream. I am not aware of the statistics of recruitment into the armed forces.

Perhaps a return to citizen’s military training both in high school and in college would heighten interest in a military career. But this is best left for another discussion.

There is, however, a real and continuous need to augment the personnel complement of the armed forces.

The military plays a very vital role for the nation. Under our constitution, it is provided that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the state. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory.

Being in the military builds professionalism and discipline, and pursuing a career in the military also opens up a lot of other career paths.

The military offers far more career diversity than one can imagine.

Recently, the Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (CAFPI), the office of party-list Rep. Ron Salo of Kabayan and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) held “You’re my Hero: Considering a Career in the Military,” the third in the “C2C: College to Career” webinar series for graduating senior high school and college students.

The webinar series also has the Cavite State University, Cebu Normal University, Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), and the Tarlac State University as its partner educational institutions.

The Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (CAFPI) is the organization of graduates of the global scholarship program that offers future leaders the unique opportunity to study in the United Kingdom.

University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion is the chairman emeritus, with Salo as president. I am privileged to serve this group as its chairman.

The co-host institution for this part in the webinar series was the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, or EARIST.

The keynote speaker was none other than Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana, PA, a real, live hero. Don’t take my word for it, read about his exploits.

If you were a fresh graduate who wanted to pursue a career in the military, well, you just had to hear about it from the top man himself.

Presenters in the webinar were Army Maj. Gen. Adriano S. Perez, PA, the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Air Force Lt. Gen. Ferdinand M. Cartujano, AFP, the Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Panelists were Air Force Col. Augusto Padua, Army Maj. Carlos Ely Tingson, Army Capt. Mary Maureen Susarno, and Navy Lt. Commander David Vidad.

The moderator was Dr. Jacel Mabansag, EARIST director for International Affairs Service, while Dr. Editha Pillo, EARIST president, gave the closing remarks.

I had the honor of giving the opening remarks and I encouraged the graduates, especially those that were raring to pursue a career in the military, to let that afternoon in the webinar be their moment of conviction — where they would, beyond any iota of a doubt, decide once and for all to make a go by enlisting in the armed forces.

I left them with two quotes that hopefully inspired them to pursue a military career, and these two quotes also had their origins from warfare:  “No guts, no glory” and “who dares, wins.”


Speaking of guts and glory, I’d like to take this occasion to greet a man celebrating his birthday tomorrow, who dared to go where others feared to tread, who reaped his share of successes as well as disappointments but still came out of it all with a stronger resolve and an unflappable determination to get things done and to get them done right.

He continues to inspire me and countless others to no end. Amid this pandemic, where the world has become more VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) than ever, he has led us not just to survive, but also to thrive.

Happy Birthday, Boss MVP! *


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