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The Plebe Traditions

In the military way of life, the norm of conduct of every soldier is governed by a set of well-defined regulations. Whatever is not specifically or comprehensively covered by regulations is encompassed by the customs and traditions of the service.

Here in the Academy, as in any military institutions, certain practices, extra-regulatory in nature, form the bulk of the customs and traditions sifted out from the experiences of our predecessors.

Although this set of practices possesses a certain degree of permanency, it is from time to time modified or improved upon by succeeding classes as circumstances may warrant.

The plebe traditions which are part of the Corps customs are enforced by the upperclassmen who, acting as Proletarian Guards, see to it that the fourthclassmen observe them carefully during the initial stages of their life in the Academy.

Those who are "not in the know" might be led to believe that the plebe traditions are practiced merely to harass that plebes for the enjoyment of the upperclassmen. These customs are not enforced on the plebes just for the fun of them .. behind every plebe tradition lies a constructive reason.

On the whole they are intended to imbue the newcomers with rigid discipline which cannot be learned from reading books or memorizing verbatim an accepted definition of it.

The neophytes, fresh from the ease and comfort of civilian life, have to be hardened to the rigors and hardships of a sternly regimented life in this Academy.

Plebe traditions also aim to produce in the plebe certain traits of character so highly essential in a military leader.

Take for instance the plebe tradition which requires all plebes to double time anywhere they go. Is it meant merely to tire the plebe? If that were the end in view then that tradition is unreasonable and utterly senseless.

But the real purpose behind this time honored tradition of the Corps of Cadets is to indoctrinate punctuality in the plebes and to make them appreciate the true value of time. By being on the double everytime he goes to any place, the plebe reaches his destination in the shortest possible time.

Military history is replete with examples of commanders who lost battles because they or their subordinates reached a certain designated place late. To a military man the element of time is of tremendous importance.

Plebes must of necessity learn this early in their lives. The crawling of plebes is another custom which if taken superficially might make one think that it is done to make fun of them.

But crawling has for its paramount purpose: to give plebes the correct military carriage. Their postures may be exaggerated, in fact they are, so that when the plebes become upperclassmen, the soldierly carriage becomes natural to them.

No practices which will degrade the plebes, or make them suffer indignity, humiliation, or undue hardships are countenanced by the upperclassmen. The plebes are made to follow traditions which guarantee the inviolability of their dignity and self-respect.

There is not a single plebe custom that might, even to the slightest degree, taint these priceless possessions of man.Plebe customs inculcate in the fourthclassmen, physical and moral courage, instantaneous obedience to superior orders, respect for and loyalty to superiors without being repugnantly servile.

These customs too, make a plebe take pride in himself and in his organization. They foster in him promptness, neatness, orderliness, resourcefulness, and initiative.

Plebes are trained to be hardy. They are made tough by plebe customs. Hardiness is essential in fighting men. This Academy does not envision the production of "tea-cup officers" of "dancers" or "ladies escorts" but of men who can lead troops in the field of battle.

The plebe traditions and customs certainly are in line with this policy. They have passed the acid test of time and were not found wanting. So, in fairness to all, customs and traditions must be observed with impartiality and justice.

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Philippine Military Academy

Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City

Philippines 2600

Tel. Phone #: (074) 446-8002 /(074) 447-3690.

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