PMA honor code and FOI

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino urged the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Siklab Diwa” Class of 2014 during their graduation yesterday to practice the PMA honor code outside the walls of the academy.

From what I understand regarding the case of Cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia, the PMA does not tolerate cadets who tell lies.

I hope the President means practicing transparency because the AFP is not exactly a transparent institution. Officials have this penchant for invoking the AFP’s honor and national interest to cover up alleged human rights violations and corruption.

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Military psy-war experts have no qualms about telling lies supposedly in the name of national interest. I became aware of this during the Marcos dictatorship. How many lies, for instance, kept the truth about the abduction of Fr. Rudy Romano from officially surfacing through the decades? Well, they mistakenly thought the lies that led to the acquittal of those accused upheld the honor of the military as an institution. And it seems nothing has changed much in the direction of transparency since 1986.

Transparency goes a long way towards propelling P-Noy’s “Matuwid Na Daan” rhetoric forward, especially within the AFP. But alas, P-Noy himself is somebody who promised to push for freedom of information when he was seeking the people’s support in 2010 but lost enthusiasm for this legislative measure after he won.

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Apparently, nothing has changed partly because of the flawed concept of honor taught within the hallowed walls of the academy. Allow me to quote a post by Tonyo Cruz that was shared by friends online:

“‘The question about the PMA Honor Code (Para kanino ang inyong dangal?)’

“The problem with the Honor Code and fallen Cadet Cudia is not that his batchmates or the whole PMA won’t forgive him. It is not even about Cadet Cudia flouting it.

“It is the clear failure of his batchmates and the PMA to explain and justify the Honor Code. What is it for? For whom is such honor? Is compliance or adherence to the Honor Code itself the end?

“The public and even Cudia and his family would have been much more understanding of the issue if his batchmates and PMA explained that the Honor Code is all about ‘honorable decorum, mindset, action and sacrifice in service of the Filipino people’.

“But they didn’t. Because it isn’t. Because the Honor Code may not be about the pursuit of service, fairness, protection, justice and sacrifice for the Filipino people. They say we cannot understand the Honor Code because it is not for us. How honest. There’s not even a slight pretension about the academy training them in the finest tradition of our greatest revolutionary heroes who stood up and fought for country.”

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Bowei Gai, the 28-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who toured 29 countries for his World Startup Report (www.worldstartupreport.com) after earning millions of dollars when LinkedIn bought his startup, found Cebu City an ideal place to work on his next project.

I had met and joined fellow Cebu journalists in interviewing Gai during the Geeks on a Beach (Goab) tech conference in Boracay last September.

The young American with Chinese roots climaxed his globetrotting project with his presentation before some 300
local and foreign geeks gathered in Boracay.

Apparently, he visited Cebu City weeks after Goab and got so enchanted that he holed up somewhere since November. Today, his startup wiki that focuses first on the Philippines will go live. Check out http://www.worldstartupwiki.org/page/Philippines.

There is indeed something in the Philippines that attracts Silicon Valley types to build their startups here. After all, there is definitely more fun here than abroad.

Our economic policymakers are, however, tied up to the BPO mindset. Thus, our economic priority is to transform our Internet-savvy youth to high-income employees of BPOs instead of owners of tech and Internet businesses that will make them future Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerbergs.

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Tina Amper of TechTalks and Goab last week solicited inputs from friends on what government can do to help the local startup community.

There is one basic obstacle that I want to talk about here. And this involves the need for fast, reliable, and cheap broadband–something that government regulation and encouragement of more players can address.(Follow @anol_cebu on Twitter)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2014.

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