IFSU ROTC learning beyond borders in Guam

Two cadets from the Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC) Units of IFSU Lamut and Potia campuses participated in the ROTC Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) Exchange between the Philippines and United States of America held in territory, Guam, last October 15-21, 2018.

The cadets are CDT/LTC John Vianney T. Puddunan, 1CL, Corps Commander of IFSU Lamut, and CDT/ LTC Maurines Dezyne L. Likiyan, 1CL, Corps S3 of IFSU Potia, both fourth year students of the College of Criminal Justice Education in their respective campuses. They joined the 22-person Philippine contingent composed of stringently selected ROTC cadets of the three branches of the AFP (Army, Navy. and Air Force) from all over the country. Puddunan and Likiyan were the only ones chosen from Luzon. According to them, this is the first time that IFSU was able to participate in the CULP in its six years of implementation under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries. The program is fully-funded under the bilateral agreement.

The two were recommended for selection by the Community Defense Center headed by Deputy Director 2LT Allan S. Monterde (Inf) PA, by virtue of rank and academic standing. Their papers, including the recommendation letters signed by University President Dr. Eva Marie C. Dugyon, were then forwarded to the Regional Community Defense Group and finally, to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

On the ROTC programs, they said that facilities and equipment in UOG ROTC are more advance, and the officer subordinate relationship is not as distant as in the Philippines. They also noted that the ROTC in Guam is a direct source of commission officers who are immediately called to active duty. The cadets receive salaries, in addition to their scholarships, when they reach MS3 rank. On the other hand, Filipino cadets have more endurance and strength; and while their Guam counterparts are more adjusted in open terrain combats, Filipinos are more suited in guerilla war tactics.

In terms of culture and economy, they observed that Guam and Philippines are almost at par. Guam’s economy is mainly driven by the tourism industry. It was also not difficult to meet Filipinos residing in Guam as many have come to the island for job opportunities. Guam and Philippines, they said, share a common history because of the war. Hence, one can encounter Filipino war veterans who took up residence in the island after the peace pact.

The Philippine delegation joined their counterparts from the ROTC of the University of Guam (UOG). They were hosted by the Guam National Guard (GUNG) – UOG Army ROTC program. Their itinerary included a tour around the historical sites in Guam, a two-day classroom exposure with their assigned buddies, familiarization with techniques and tactics in the military, and a two day physical field training in a simulated jungle encounter with rebels. Puddunan was able to join the public speaking and administration class of his counterpart. Likiyan, meanwhile, joined the foreign language class in Spanish-Chamorro of her buddy. During the simulation, Puddunan and Likiyan relayed that cadets were more engaged in troupe leading procedures and how they applied the insights from lectures during the field situation.

“This experience is a rare one. It can lead us to help our ROTC here. We would like to impart what we have learned to our co-cadets and officers. I fully support the mandatory offering of ROTC to students because we can learn discipline here. We also learn how to communicate professionally. We would like to encourage the parents to let their kids join ROTC,” Puddunan said.

“We want to change the notion that ROTC is not good. They should not fear it because it can be fun,” Likiyan concluded#