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Nationalism and fighting for one’s country: RA Babies weigh in

by Gaby Agbulos

IF THE Philippines were ever attacked by foreign enemies, would you be willing to fight for your country? 

A report from OCTA Research found that 77% or three out of four Filipinos would be willing to fight for their country if needed. This survey was commissioned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and took into account the answers of about 1,200 adult Filipinos. 

The survey said that those aged 45 to 54 were most willing to fight for their country (87%), followed by those aged 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 (77%) and those aged 18 to 24 (74%).

In some countries, citizens must enlist in the military. This is the norm, for example, in South Korea, where even famous K-pop idols are not exempt unless there is a valid reason such as a mental disorder. 

In the Philippines, there are calls for the implementation of mandatory military service.

If one were to ask Gen Zs directly, however, if they were willing to fight for their country if ever the time called for it, would they do so? Do the ideals of “nationalism” and “patriotism” now still reflect what they meant before?

RA Babies and their thoughts

For 22-year-old Thraela Carbaqui, an intern at republicasia, nationalism means showing love and dedication to your country. It means protecting what’s yours, especially from those trying to destroy it. 

She feels that Gen Zs still have a strong sense of nationalism, despite what others may say. She notes that Gen Zs are aware of the things happening in the country, and are very passionate in expressing their opinions and fighting for what they feel is right.

“I can still remember how the youth expressed their viewpoints and outlooks [during] the election,” she recalled.

“Their perspectives [were] spread across different social media platforms, [and] whenever there [were] viral videos that [were] unjust, Gen Zs [would] use their power to stand up for what [was right, particularly if it [was] for the sake of our country.”

Joanna Deala, a member of republicasia’s Editorial Team, also sees nationalism as supporting both the country as well as the rights of its citizens. This includes their rights to make choices and to be heard. 

The 26-year-old has seen the strength of the nationalism of Filipino Gen Zs as they’ve constantly been vocal about making positive changes that would serve to better the lives of the country’s citizens, often making use of social media to discuss solutions and to raise awareness on certain problems. 

Like Carbaqui and Deala, 21-year-old Justine Paiso says: “Mayroon kaming mga mulat na mata at pag-iisip para sa mga isyung kinahaharap ng ating bansa. Ito ay nakikita sa kung paano kami nakikiisa at nakikialam sa kung ano [ang] kasalukuyang nangyayari.” 

For fellow intern Trisha Nicole, nationalism is about devotion to one’s country, underscoring the bond one shares with one’s nation as well as their shared cultural heritage. 

She said Gen Zs are extremely interested in learning about Philippine history and culture, as seen in the attention shown toward mambabatok Whang-Od and their love for baybayin. 

When asked, however, if they would serve their country in times of military conflict, the answers of these RA Babies varied. 

While Deala would fight for her country, she would not want to do so in a way that would lead to bloodshed. 

Nicole, on the other hand, would have no problem serving in the Army Reserve in the future.

“A military reserve is a group of people a commander initially chooses not to commit to combat to keep them available [for] unanticipated circumstances or opportunities; in [the] time of war, I can support my country by fighting the enemy,” she explained. 

For Carbaqui, it would depend on the situation.

“On the verge of facing conflicts, I have no problem defending my country,” she explained.

“[But] I’m only going to fight for this country if we’re on the morally right side of whatever conflicts might come. I’ll stand up for us for whatever it might cost if we have the right cause to fight for. But if ever we’re injurious, I will not tolerate this kind of action.” 

As seen in the answers of these RA Babies, the values of nationalism and patriotism are alive even with the new generation, which they express in various ways. 



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