For the life of me, I have yet to find reasonable justification for the continued use of the absence card in the barracks to this day.
It’s not just a nuisance. It’s one of those things that have long outlived their usefulness, and yet continues to be put into use by the command without really thinking of it’s utility.
It has been a continued source of delinquency reports (leaving room with unmarked card), possible reports of honor code violations (possibly going on off limits) and in the case of plebes and their upperclassmen, invitations for dismisssal because of unintended hazing encounters because of them.
Yet, the deeper, unobserved cause for concern is the way that cadets have been accustomed to find a way around these regulations that continue to be violated – deliberately or otherwise.
Whether we like it or not, the culture of “beating the system” revolving around such anachronistic barracks issues such as the absence card – is one of those things that perpetuate the culture of “finding a way around” regulations or procedures.
Mastery of this mindset will continue on in the active service as a serving officer, and what do you get in the long term?
Headline grabbers and a cause of consternation among Cavaliers who did their best to toe the line while still in uniform.
While we can grant that they are a miniscule few compared to the honorable majority, the few are enough to sully the insignia with stains that remain for quite some time.
There are times when a training institution ought to reconsider the training thrust for their trainees and refocus their attention towards following regulations with a whole heart instead of letting them learn how the boundaries can be bent by discovering the fine lines.
While it may be arguably good to cultivate a degree of cleverness, it may be more valuable to reaffirm the culture of integrity instead.
This is what’s sorely lacking in our society at large for quite some time now, which is why we continue to lament our corrupted national soul.
It is for this reason and a few others that I hope the command will rethink their position on the absence card and rather, inculcate the more permanent value of conviction of being true enough to ourselves to admit if we did go on “off limits” or not when there is justification enough to be asked if we did. After all, it’s what we know as INTEGRITY.
One of the three virtues we wish to uphold in the Academy seal.
These are the changes which are not superficial, yet have a long lasting impact in the circles which we travel in and influence.
Eyebrows continue to lift when the word change is raised.
“Change” came to America eight years ago and is about to be replaced – by an overwhelming vote of no confidence.
Change, they say, has come to the Philippines. In the words of the elder grads: “Let us to see”.
Will there be changes within the Corps? There have been some. But as to those matters that have been long codified into the hearts and souls of those that have long since left the barracks, may these always remain the same.