A Christian youth organization warned against proposals made by presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte to require Filipinos to render military service once they turn 18 years of age.
“Amidst countless killings, we cannot bear our youth to serve in mandatory enlistment to become fodders of a fascist institution that normalizes abuses by authorities,” said the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines.
In a statement on Thursday, January 20, the group expressed alarm over the proposal, saying that the Philippine military has been “proven to be instruments of state-sponsored violence.”
“Amidst a nationwide crisis brought by COVID-19, a militarized government has utterly failed in providing medical and socio-economic solutions,” said the youth group, noting that most of those appointed in key positions in government are former military generals.
Duterte, who is running for vice president in the coming May elections, said that, if elected vice president, she would push for mandatory military service for all Filipinos reaching the age of 18.
“We see this in other countries like South Korea and Israel,” she said.
“Everyone, once you turn 18, once you reach 18 years old, you will be given a subsidy. You will be asked to serve our country under our Armed Forces of the Philippines,” added the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Calls to abolish mandatory military training were fueled by the killing of a university student in 2001 after he exposed corruption in his school’s military training program.