Manila, PHILIPPINES — For its 117th founding anniversary celebration, the Philippine Navy lets street childran and orphans to experience the life of Navy personnel for a day.
Aside from riding touring museums and riding armored vehicles, the children also get to ride the Navy's planes and ships.
David Lozada reports.
As part of their 117th founding anniversary celebration, the Philippine Navy gives 40 street children and orphans the chance to experience the life of uniformed personnel and live the Navy dream.
The children, who come from a local orphanage in Manila, tour military museums, ride armoured vehicles, and eat with navy officers who served as their older siblings for the day.
Philippine Navy public affairs officer Commodore Lued Lincuna says the activity aims to inspire the children to pursue a military career in the future.
Commo. Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy Public Affairs Officer: Our goal here is to inspire them to somehow consider being a part of the navy in their plans. We let them ride the marines’ tanks, our aircrafts, and now to ride the our cruise so they know what it feels like in the forces.
The activity is eye-opening to the kids who have never flown in an aircraft nor sailed in a ship.
Grace Gigante faces her fear of heights during her first ever flight. Grateful to the navy for giving her the experience, the 15-year-old says she is discerning whether or not to join the military.
Grace Gigante, orphan: My mind was enlightened when they explained the life of a navy man earlier. I realized that it’s not that easy to get in. My dream is to actually become an accountant. But then I learned that you can also train in the navy while pursuing accountancy so I’m really thinking of joining.
With China’s increasing aggression, Lincuna says the armed forces needs to be more dynamic in its recruitment. And that includes making the armed forces a viable career choice for young Filipinos.
Commo. Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy Public Affairs Officer: The Armed Forces cannot defend our country alone. We need to approach this as an entire nation, as one team. If we do so, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.
With territorial disputes brewing in the West Philippine Sea, the Navy aims to influence more young people to join its ranks. For the street kids who joined today’s activities, a day in the life of the Armed Forces shows them an alternative career where they can have a bright future while serving the country.
David Lozada, Rappler, Manila