Philippine military welcomes LGBT applicants

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2017 06:16 PM

In searching for 10,000 Filipinos who want to volunteer to become new soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said they would not discriminate against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community who may want to apply.

But along with the open invitation came repeated reminders for the LGBT community to behave properly, if they so wish to join the Philippine military.

"We were being asked kung ang recruitment ba namin will include members of the LGBT - the so-called LGBT community. Are we not going to discriminate against them? Ang sagot po namin, no. The AFP is not going to discriminate against them. Malaya po silang makapag-apply at pumasok sa Armed Forces," said Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP chief of public affairs.

"Subalit ang amin pong tagubilin ay iisa lamang. Sa sandaling sila po ay mag-apply at tanggapin na po sa Armed Forces of the Philippines, atin po silang pinapa-alalahanan na kailangan po nilang mag-act at kumilos nang may dignidad at pag-iingat sa kanilang unipormang isusuot. Sapagkat an AFP is a uniformed service. It is a noble profession of arms," he added.

Arevalo said there are provisions in military law defining good conduct.

"Ang ating AFP has punitive laws. Lalong-lalo na ang nakalagay sa articles of war, na sinasabing nagpo-proscribe ng conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline," he said.

He stressed that anyone who could fulfill the application requirements would be welcomed into the AFP, regardless of their gender.

"They are welcome. Pwede po silang mag-apply, Tatanggapin po natin sila sa AFP, but of course they have to pass all the examinations, all the tests," he said.

Arevalo expressed his belief that the LGBT community would be able to contribute greatly to the Armed Forces, but again ended with the warning that military discipline is required under the articles of war.

The public affairs chief however did not explain why he felt the need to issue such reminders in discussing the prospect of recruiting members of the LGBT community.