Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the first transgender member of the Philippine House of Representatives, expressed her interest in joining the military as a reserve officer.
In a statement on Wednesday, February 15, Roman commended the policy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which allows members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to join the military.
“I will be applying to become a military officer in the AFP Reserve Force to become the first transgender military officer of the Philippine Republic,” the lawmaker said.
“This will complement their appreciation for the LGBT community for they will see that we can exemplify the same sense of discipline, the same military professionalism, and the same love of country that the current men and women in uniform embody,” she added.
Roman remarked that as a transgender, she would wear a military woman’s uniform and haircut.
At the same time, Roman showed her support for the proposed revival of the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 in both public and private schools nationwide.
She added that she would also encourage the youth “to join and promote our nation’s ROTC because this will prepare them for our country’s defense and for earthquake/typhoon rescue operations.”
The military, meanwhile, welcomed Roman’s intention to join the army.
“We highly value the patriotism of our citizens and will work to cultivate this. She will be a welcome addition to the Reservists Force,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo, however, reminded that anyone who wishes to train within the AFP must “maintain the dignity of the uniform; observe discipline, propriety and decorum; and measure up to the steep standards of the service.”
“In the process of training prospective members, the AFP inculcates on them that that they are entering an institution placed in high esteem,” Arevalo said.
Addressing the standards in wearing a military uniform, Arevalo said that the AFP must “have to go by the gender of the applicant as reflected in the certificate of live birth.”