AFP training urgently needs a curriculum overhaul
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-05-26

Worse than being ill-equipped in war materiel, it is most detrimental if the policy makers and officers of a country’s national armed forces are ill-equipped up there in the head. Not having enough bullets or bombs is not as deadly as not having enough brains to know the real enemy and conceive a winning strategy.

A blundering British High Command ordered the charge of the Light Brigade in the Battle of Balaclava during The Crimean War and we all know the folly of that order. The Biblical David was less equipped in physical build and arms against Goliath. But David was smarter and we all know what happened in that famous one-on-one.

In many major battles that the ancient Romans fought and won, they were grossly outnumbered. Discipline, morale and superior tactics won Roman victories.

If many Filipinos are like Jason Bourne who did not know his true identity and personal history, our AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) seems to be infected with the same problem. The protectors of the people, especially against foreign predators, our AFP is anything but.

Like Jason Bourne, our AFP has been programmed to kill Filipinos who have been tagged as “enemies of the state” without considering if they were killing combatants or legitimate (non-combatant) dissenters seeking to empower the underprivileged of our society.

The latest to be named an “enemy of the state” is New York Times and International Herald Tribune Correspondent and NUJP (National Union of Journalists of the Philippines) head, Carlos Conde.

In a May 19 press statement, Conde stated: “I found out yesterday that my name is included in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s ‘order of battle,’ specifically in a document titled ‘JCICC ‘AGILA’ 3rd QTR 2007 OB VALIDATION RESULT’ purportedly prepared by the intelligence staff of the armed forces’ 10th Infantry Division in Southern Mindanao.”

Knowing the fate of those who have been listed in the AFP “order of battle” — Conde naturally fears for his life and the lives of his loved ones.

I e-mailed a good friend, an AFP officer of high rank who is a gentleman and a genuine patriot, to get his views as to how this can happen to a legitimate journalist like Conde.

If indeed Conde’s pen is mightier than their sword, still, that does not justify placing him in the AFP “order of battle” like an insurgent.

My officer-friend’s frank response was quite enlightening. He said:

“You must accept it that this is how our officers think — not only in the AFP but in the PNP (Philippine National Police) as well! First, you must understand that our officers lack education in the following:

Political economy

World history (both Western and Middle/Near Eastern Perspective)

Evolution of Christianity from 33 A.D. to 325 A.D.

The birth of the “ROMAN” Catholic Church in 325 A.D., its influence to global politics in the last 1,500 years

In depth analysis of Philippine politics from the time of Aguinaldo to present

History of the Philippines from 11th to 17th Century (by Cesar Majul, in his book Muslims in the Philippines)

Philosophy (the works of great philosophers in the last 2,000 years e.g. Averroes, Avecina,)

History and evolution of Communism (to today’s “Social Market Economy”)

Birth and evolution of Philippine Communism
Communist ideologue in Philippines today: Is it real?

Islamic Studies (in order to know their enemies in Islam)

US External Policy: A global deception

Our soldiers are just trained to develop combat skills to kill the enemies. Our police are only trained to arrest without having knowledge of the law, in particular, the Miranda doctrine. In other words, they lack the correct core competence in educational values that would make them the protector of their people. The problem facing our officers is also caused by their lack of MORAL VALUES brought about by the ignorance on their religion.” (End of quote)

We did not identify my officer-friend to protect him from higher ups who may be offended by what he shared. Those who practice evils acts are quick to smother those who promote good acts.

But we hope that presidential wannabe and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and our new AFP Chief Victor Ibrado will heed and implement his suggestions. The AFP must produce the officers who will win the crucial battle for hearts and minds that will effectively neutralize insurgencies and rebellions.

Sec. Teodoro and Gen. Ibrado may not be around long enough to see the full fruition of this effort to broaden the minds of our officers and soldiers. But they can be credited for collaborating to initiate such a historic, strategic move.

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