Pass in Review at the PMA. Photo: Daily Tribune
ollow the news, and it feels like all our old institutions are failing us. A case in point is the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). Once a revered institution that highlighted the admirable qualities of our next generation, it has over the decades lost most of its luster. Today it is embroiled in a hazing scandal that emphasizes, the worst in our young men and women.
According to a CNN article, Darwin Dormitorio “was a 20-year-old freshman cadet who died at the PMA hospital in Baguio City on September 18. He succumbed to fatal blows as a result of hazing.”
In a subsequent article, CNN traced the last 24 hours of Dormitorio’s life, underscoring the pain and suffering inflicted on the young cadet for what seems to be minuscule transgressions. His treatment also speaks to the brutal nature of his tormentors who must now be held to account for their heinous acts. They are not the future leaders this country needs.
There was a time when we Filipinos were exceedingly proud of the PMA. Its sprawling campus, curriculum, and cadet uniforms closely matched that of West Point Military Academy in the United States. Because of historical ties, many PMA cadets managed to graduate from West Point. And Many West Point graduates returned to teach at the PMA.
The result was that the general perception of a PMA graduate was that of an upright, moral, and ethical, individual. An officer and a gentleman.
Sadly, today, it is not just the PMA, but many other Philippine institutions that have deteriorated. They no longer are what they used to be. What’s worse is the problems began on our watch. We thus cannot point the finger at the Spaniards or the Americans, because they left us with our institutions intact and functioning properly.
We Filipinos must, therefore, ask ourselves what it is we are doing wrong? Instead of moving forward as a leader in Southeast Asia, we are now one of its laggards.
We have to face the truth. There has to be something fundamentally wrong with us; a flaw that is holding us back. The sooner we figure out what it is, the sooner we can fix it.
Because our flaws are all fixable. It may take several generations to correct, but it can be done. Filipinos are meant to reach far greater heights. So we need to fix the problem now, or we will dig ourselves deeper into the hole we’re in. Published 9/28/2019