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President plans for compulsory military service

The Dili Weekly - July 9, 2013

The Timor-Leste President Taur Matan Ruak has plans to introduce compulsory military service in the future for young people, but before this he will hold discussions with relevant institutions about the plan.

The Commandant for Defense Force of Timor-Leste, the Chief of State Major General Lere Anan Timor has planned to implement the obligatory military service for youths but before that he will discuss with relevant institutions about this issue.

The advisor to the Presidency's Military House Frei Guteres said the objective of the plan, named 'Patriotic Civil Citizenship', was to increase the sense of nationalism for young people while they contribute to the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He said the program would, "reinforce nationalism and citizenship, further strengthen the awareness of the youth towards society,strengthen moral discipline, contribute to alleviating unemployment and reduce drug and martial arts related crimes".

According to the plan, he said the President Taur Matak Ruak would hold a discussion about the plan with the Chief of the Military House of the Presidency of the Republic, the Secretary of State for Defence, the F-FDTL Commander-in-Chief and senior F-FDTL officers.

Meanwhile, the FDTL Commander-in-Chief, Major General Lere Anan Timur, said he supported this initiative as it could strengthen patriotism and nationalism amongst young people.

"This requires a more in-depth discussion involving important entities and civil society to find information about the advantages and disadvantages of compulsory military service," said Commander Lere.

At same place, the Secretary of State for Defence Julio Tomas Pinto suggested there needs to be a comparative study of the countries with compulsory military service, to identify the advantages and disadvantages of implementing this in Timor-Leste.

On the other side, Member of Parliament Jacinta Pereire Abucau said it's a good plan but they need to raise awareness in the community, especially the youth, about this issue. "As then they will know about it and can give ideas, because this issue has advantages as well as disadvantages," said the MP.