I read the Manila Times article about Olongapo City Mayor Paulino’s wish to have Navy recruiting return to Subic Bay.
As of today, it’s nothing more than a dream.
Although United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg asked him to formalize the request, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I think it’s a great idea and I sincerely hope it comes to pass.
Of course, I have selfish reasons for wanting it here.
During my 20 years in the Marine Corps, I met a lot of Filipinos (not Filipino-Americans) who were in both the Marine Corps and the Navy. I know the Navy recruited from the Subic Bay Naval Base (until 1992) but I still don’t know where the Marines were recruited from. It doesn’t matter, I guess.
I had Filipinos serving with me at two of my duty stations and I saw a lot of Filipinos on the Navy ships I rode on. By the way, one of the sailor insults was that MARINE stood for “men always riding in Navy equipment”. Anyway… most of the Filipinos I met in the Navy worked as cooks or clerks in the ship stores. I’m sure they worked in other departments as well but I wouldn’t have seen them because I didn’t go to those departments.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines recently upheld the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States. There are militant and anti-American groups against it, but most Filipinos agree with it. Those groups are a tiny minority of the population.
A lot of Filipinos would love to join the Navy. More than being a path to United States citizenship, it’s a better paying job than most overseas Filipino workers can get today. I have one niece and one nephew living in my compound who are keenly interested. There may be more but I think they’re waiting before they say anything about it. Some of them will have to brush up a bit on their English skills. Until now, they’ve been lazy about it.
The nephew I mentioned is unemployed and only has a high school diploma under his belt. The only jobs he can get are those that include manual labor. None of the others have graduated from high school yet, but they will within a few short years.
For the Filipinos without a college education, which is too expensive for most families, the United States Navy option is a very attractive route to take and I don’t blame them for thinking that way. Of course, a high school diploma is necessary to join and there are plenty of Filipinos who never finish high school.
By: RT Cunningham
January 20, 2016
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