RENOWNED for his nationalism and profound love for country, Senator Robinhood Padilla has spearheaded the “Basic Citizen Military Course Class 10-2024” within the Philippine Senate. This initiative, undertaken voluntarily by Senate officials and employees, aims not only to instill discipline but also to equip participants with the skills essential for effectively responding to crises and natural disasters.

The Philippine Navy reservists training commenced on April 3, 2024, with approximately 50 trainees out of the 161 enlistees taking their oath in the Senate before Senator Padilla and Major General Joseph Ferrous S. Cuison of the Naval Reserve Command.

The initial weeks following the oath-taking ceremony were dedicated to laying the groundwork with fundamental military theories and concepts. Under the guidance of dedicated trainers from the Philippine Navy, the trainees engaged in exercises and jogging sessions within the Senate premises. Subsequent visits to key military installations like the Philippine Navy camp in Sangley and the Philippine Marine Corps headquarters in Fort Bonifacio provided invaluable firsthand exposure to military operations and protocols.

An encounter with the famed Philippine Navy Seals left a profound impression on the trainees, notably their exceptional strength and endurance. This experience, which involved witnessing and learning about the Navy Seals’ rigorous training regimen—including periods without sleep lasting up to five days—served as a powerful source of motivation for the trainees.

As the training progressed, new challenges emerged. To broaden their skill sets, trainees undertook swimming lessons at the Philippine Marine Corps Headquarters and participated in CPR training conducted by the Philippine Heart Association.

The trainees also embarked on a two-day immersion at the Philippine Navy’s Naval Operating Base, nestled within the former Hanjin shipyard in Subic Bay Freeport, Zambales. This sprawling facility, home to a fleet of Navy ships, was an invaluable exposure for them, especially amid the commencement of the 39th Balikatan Exercises on April 22, continuing until May 10. They underwent the challenge of being required to jump from the ship and swim in deep waters unassisted. My 24-year old daughter, the youngest in the group, and a staff member of the Office of Padilla, proudly informed me that she was the first to take the leap, as others hesitated.

Sometime this May, they will undergo a three-day intensive training at the Philippine Marine Corps Camp in Ternate, Cavite. Here, they will engage in rigorous activities including running, jumping, crawling, firing weapons, and all the essential drills required of trainees, while carrying firearms and heavy knapsacks.

Congratulations in advance to the soon-to-be Philippine Navy reservists and to Senator Padilla for spearheading this remarkable program.