Netizens react to Mayor Sara’s military service idea 2
Duterte-Carpio says the military service will be required of both male and female citizens who have reached the age of 18. Photos from ABS-CBN News.

From serious to hilarious: What the Internet has to say about Mayor Sara’s military service idea

There were those who saw the good in it, those who think the country’s youth deserves better, and those who just needed to make memes
ANCX Staff | Jan 21 2022

Everyone’s talking about Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s plan to push for mandatory military service for Filipinos if ever she wins the vice-presidential race this May.

The service will be required of both male and female citizens who have reached the age of 18. “Everyone, once you turn 18, once you reach 18 years old, you will be given a subsidy,” the presidential daughter said during her UniTeam's Metro Manila Virtual Caravan. 

She clarified that it’s not similar to ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] training which is only a short-term subject requirement for students. “You will be asked to serve our country under our Armed Forces of the Philippines,” she said, adding that the Office of the Vice President will urge the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines to pass the legislation.

The internet subsequently exploded with mixed reactions, with people weighing in on the proposal’s pros and cons, criticizing what’s been called the vice-presidential aspirant’s supposed “misplaced priorities,” and questioning how this plan can actually help the country still reeling from the effects of the Covid pandemic.

Ang daming problema ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas tapos lalapagan ka ng mandatory military service?” asked Jowana Bueser reacting to the ABS-CBN news link on Twitter. The netizen is clearly giving Inday’s idea a thumbs down, pointing out how, in her opinion, out-of-touch it is with the real sentiments of the country’s youth. “Uma-appeal na naman tayo sa mga botanteng boomer na walang pakialam sa tunay na pangangailangan ng mga kabataan?” 

Some commenters pointed out what the government should be focusing on at the moment, when it comes to the youth: “Good quality education, free/subsidized tuition fees and good school facilities,” said one Tweet. 

“People should decide if they want to go to school or military,” one parent argued. “Our kids have already suffered enough with no classes for 2 years.” 

mandatory military service
Photo from ABS-CBN News

Another netizen said there are still many young Filipinos who have poor reading skills—and this needs to be addressed. “Turuan nyo muna magbasa mga kabataan natin. May mga kilala ako 18 na, simpleng english paragraph di naintindihan yung binasa,” wrote @anaknipara. 

Many netizens questioned the relevance of Duterte-Carpio’s suggestion in light of the current health crisis, recommending instead that the Davao mayor lay out better disaster response strategies and ideas that will strengthen the economy after being crippled by Covid. “Daming nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemic na hanggang ngayon di pa rin makaahon sa hirap. Pwede rin tutukan nya ang korapsyon sa govt dahil di naman nawala mas grumabe pa sa panahon ng tatay nya. Marami pang pwedeng unahin, pls!”

For one netizen, allocating a budget for the proposed subsidy doesn’t make sense in light of present government shortcomings. “Eh Hindi nga kayang natugunan ang pagbibigay ng med kit na maayos,” the post read.

But while many are against the idea of mandatory military service, there are those who see the good in it. One of them is Christine Joy Cari, a commissioner of the National Youth Commission (NYC). Cari, who’s from typhoon-stricken Leyte, believes the plan will help shape young people into useful and responsive citizens, especially in times of disaster. 

It’s a concern echoed by Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian who created quite a stir on his Twitter account when he expressed his thoughts on the matter. “There is more to military service than guns,” he said. “Military service builds character, discipline, love for country, patriotism. Everyday our volunteers from the military service helps out in the vax centers.” 

The three-term mayor seeking to win a seat in Congress this May also said that, from experience, volunteers from the military service have been very helpful in disaster response and relief operations, as well as in building roads and schools.

One of the mayor’s followers, however, disagreed, saying “discipline and patriotism are not exclusive to military service.” The commenter added that ensuring disaster preparedness and emergency response can be incorporated in our current educational and corporate system, with the cooperation of the armed forces. Meanwhile, the other technical services can be provided by highly skilled laborers, educators, engineers, scientists, and civil workers.

Another comment on the mayor’s post said that making the military service mandatory “takes away our right to choose how we want to serve our country. You can build character, discipline, love for country, and patriotism without joining military service. (E.g. volunteering to OVP's public service activities, joining development initiatives).”

Another netizen said that AFP’s resources can be better spent on “modernizing military assets rather than mandatory service,” instead of utilizing the money to train forced, uninterested youth. “Patriotism, discipline and service may be fostered through our classrooms and community,” he said.

Meanwhile, as expected with Pinoys, there were humorous reactions, too, and they ranged from Tweets to memes to full-on TikTok vids. To end this report, we give you three of our favorites: 



@mmadancers Ready na kami s Mandatory Military Training mo Inday Sara, PERO KAY LENI PA RIN KAMI! #foryou #trend #goviralgo #foryoupage #fyp #tiktokphilippines ♬ Commander (feat. David Guetta) [Radio Edit] - Kelly Rowland