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DAVAO CITY, Philippines -- Graduates of the Philippine Military Academy who hold ranking positions in the police and Army here are split on the new policy to admit gays into the institution so long as they do not openly flaunt their gender preference.
Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, chief of the Operations and Plans Division of the Davao Police Regional Command, worries that gay cadets might “influence” their straight “mistahs” at the Academy.
And even Brigadier General Ariel Bernardo, commander of Eastern Mindanao Command’s 10th Infantry Division, while saying he had nothing against allowing gays to enroll in the PMA, added that whether or not they can survive the rigorous training at the school is another matter.
Aquino, a member of PMA Class 1985, said: “You know, sa aming shower room, nakahubad kami lahat doon, so, kapag may bading na pumasok, definitely, magkakaroon ng problema. Secondly, baka maka-impluwensya na maging bading din ‘yung iba (You know, in our shower room, all of us are naked, so, if a gay enters, definitely, there will be problems. Secondly they may influence others to become gay as well).”
“Hindi ako galit sa mga bading pero nade-degrade ang primary school ng military, ang PMA, kung mahaluan ng bading (I don’t hate gays but the primary school of the military, the PMA, would be degraded if gays are admitted),” he added.
In contrast, Bernardo said anyone -- man, woman, gay or lesbian -- has the right to seek admission and be accepted into the PMA.
“Actually, it is the right of everyone to be employed. It is part of employment,” he said.
He also acknowledged that, “May mga kaklase kaming lumalabas na ganun (We had classmates who turned out to be gay). As long as they can do their job at hindi maapektuhan, walang problema (and it does not affect them, there is no problem),” he said.
He stressed that the gays he knew in the Armed Forces of the Philippines have proven themselves worthy of being in the service, proof that gender is not a problem.
“So, maging gender-sensitive tayo (So, let’s be gender-sensitive). We should accept. Not that I agree or not, but all they have to do is pass (the requirements),” Bernardo, a member of Class 1980, said.
But he acknowledged that it is the PMA that has the last say in the matter.