Sara Duterte’s expensive hare-brained idea

Why is it, for a Duterte, the only way to promote nationalism and patriotism is to slapped citizens with a military uniform and constrict them to military service.

As expected, the Department of National Defense hierarchy, who have spent the past six years kissing President Duterte’s ass, is supporting Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s idea of constricting 18-year-old Filipinos to military service, citing South Korea’s and Israel’s practice. That South Korea is still in a war with North Korea and that Israel is surrounded by hostile countries which have vowed to wipe it out of the map has been left out of the argument.

COSTLY IDEA. Sara Duterte’s push for mandayory military service for 18-year-old Filipinos will cost us at least P600 billion a year.

And oh, the same Sara Duterte said LGUs should stop the practice of sponsoring basketball leagues and pageant shows during fiestas since they are a waste of government funds.

That nobody has pointed out the irony in the two statemetns shows how the Dutertes are so out-of-touch with reality and how they have hijacked the narrative since 2016–don’t dare question us.

Per Sara, the 18-year-olds would be subsidized in their military service. Now, let’s look at the numbers. Per the PSA, the projected number of Filipinos in the 15 to 19-year-old bracket for 2020 is 10.2 million ( Google wasn’t able to provide data for 2022, but you’ll get my point.) Assuming the average is even and that the number of 18-year-olds, based on the data is a even 2.5 million.

Now Sara said they will be subsidized and I assume that means regular salary. Unless, of course, you’re going to have millions of 18-year-olds conscripted without pay. Now, the monthly pay of a candidate soldier is P18,587; if you pay those 2.5 million 18-year-olds that’s 46.4 Billion a month. If the military service lasts for a year, that’s P557.616 billion for the 18-year-olds.

That’s just for salary. How about uniforms and meals? Say a set costs P1,600 and each 18-year-old gets two sets as for meals, say each gets P30 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s an additional P8 billion for uniforms and another P82 Billion for meals.

So Sara Duterte’s hare-brained idea will cost us P647 billion alone in the first year, that’s 20 percent more than the 2022 budget for the AFP (213B) and the PNP (190B) for 2022.

And you guys are applauding her, since her idea will promote nationalism? Here’s a side note, every since I started covering sports in the late 90s, the best avenue to promote nationalsim and patriotism has always been sports. At least, until 2016, when Duterte and his minions equated support for the national team to support for Duterte.

Now back to Sara’s stupid idea. Everyone who has experienced ROTC or its later iterations learn that those with connections and have money get to avoid it. (Sara’s father, unfortunately, can’t relate since he famously ducked it) This idea, should it become a law God forbid, will merely open a new cottage industry where rich folks pay to avoid military service and the poor folks are left holding the bag.

I wish someone will correct the Dutertes. It’s a long shot but still, I wish it. The sports events she want discontinued, people will find a way to be a part of it or to play. Thats sports. IN the military service she wants to enact? People will find way to avoid it.

As to promoting nationalism and democracy, sports till is the no. 1 avenue. No matter your political color when it comes to Gilas, you bleed red and blue. That was true pre 2016 and unfortunately, after 2016 when even wearing a certain color would trigger division, the unifying factor that is sports in the Philippines isn’t the same.

Sports in fiestas doesn’t cost the national government a thing; these events are, if not shouldered by a the LGU, are shouldered by a local sponsor. participants or even the audience in local sports league will look for ways to be able to join or to watch, unlike in a mandatory military service where they’ll look for ways to avoid it.

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