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Soldiers in Cagayan wary over gay recruitment

March 11, 2009 3:10pm

Tags: Cagayan
TUGUEGARAO, Philippines – Army officials from this northern province are not sure how gay people can equally perform the job of enlisted personnel who are already serving in the military.

In an interview, Col. Remegio de Vera, commanding officer of the Army’s 501st Infantry Brigade (IB) in Cagayan, said that if he will have his way, he would prefer to stick to the traditional military recruitment of straight men and women.

“I don’t have anything against gay people but I am still in the dark, I cannot imagine how they will perform and discharge their duties once they are accepted in the military," he said.

De Vera was reacting to the statement of Philippine Army spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. that the Army has opened its gates to gay people.

In a recent television interview, Brawner said the Army welcomes everybody who wants be in the service including gay people.

“There will be no discrimination as long as the applicant is physically, emotionally and mentally fit. We will be happy to work and even go to war with them," Brawner said.

The military is traditionally a male-dominated organization up until the US and other European countries, in recent years, have started accepting gay and bi-sexuals in their armed forces.

In the Philippines, the decision which emanated from the military top brass has created a stir among some soldiers and “gay hate" groups who still regard “machismo" as the main requirement to be able to enter the military service.

An Army sergeant from Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela — who declined to be named — said he and other troopers will welcome the recruits with open arms but are also worried how gay people can handle life in a war zone.

“In combat, we put our lives in the hands of other soldiers. I don’t want to judge their worth but I can’t help but wonder how we can rely on gays, baka alagaan lang namin sila sa halip na makipaglaban sa kaaway," he said.

(Instead of fighting the enemy, we might turn out to be their baby-sitters)

At least 3,900 recruits from the 6,700 required by the Armed Forces of the Philippinesd (AFP) this year are needed by the Army. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Cagayan