MANILA, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' first transgender lawmaker took her oath on Wednesday as a reservist officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), becoming the country's first transgender military officer.
The Department of National Defense said in a statement that Rep. Geraldine Roman, a member of the House of Representatives, donned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as she officially joined the Philippine Army Reserve Force.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana administered the donning of ranks and oath-taking ceremony that was also attended by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero and other defense and security officials at the Camp Aguinaldo.
Roman announced her application to the AFP Reserve Force in February 2017. She thanked the AFP for allowing individuals from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community to apply for the military.
"War and disaster do not recognize gender, it affects everybody, and everyone must defend and serve our communities, and our country, that is why I am joining the AFP Reserve Force," Roman said.
Roman is also an advocate for the revival of the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC) for grades 11 and 12.
She expressed her support for the program during the ROTC Corps Commanders' Summit and Senior Reservist Commanders' Conference held in February last year in Camp Aguinaldo.
"We in congress are working to make the ROTC experience a significant, beneficial and meaningful learning experience for those who will join and we will ensure that the value of patriotism will be inculcated among the youth through this course," Roman said.