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‘Homos,’ lesbians can join military

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija —The Philippine Army was recruiting 400 officers and 2,700 soldiers and will not close its doors to lesbians and homosexuals, Army spokesman Col. Noel Detoyato said on Tuesday.

“We are not keen on sexual preferences. We don’t discriminate,” Detoyato told a press briefing.

But aspiring soldiers should observe proper decorum when in the service so as not to bring dishonor to the army, Detoyato said.

The 85,000-strong Philippine Army has been fighting the communist New People’s Army, which has been active in the countryside,  and the secessionist Muslim rebels in Mindanao for many years.

The army needed to replenish its ranks, which has been depleted by retirement and battle casualties. The rigors of military training and spartan living often rules out recruitment of homosexuals.

But Detoyato said members of the third sex can be effective in their work, especially in dealing with communities where they are assigned because today’s soldiers have other functions in addition to going into battle.

“When I was a company commander, one of my men turned out to be a homosexual. Yet he was one of my most effective men. He can organize women groups  well,” he said.

He said he tolerated the guy but he told him not to misbehave. “I just told him: ‘Don’t ever wear a dress.’”

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