Mandatory ROTC ‘an empty act of patriotism,’ says lawmaker
President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to make the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program mandatory for Grades 11 and 12 is an “empty act of patriotism” when government leaders are “surrendering” Philippines’ sovereignty to foreign powers.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said this on Tuesday, days after the chief executive declared his plan to issue an executive order that would revive the compulsory ROTC program if Congress fails to pass a law on the matter.
“The move to revive the mandatory requirement for military service training or the ROTC is an empty act of patriotism when our leaders are surrendering our sovereignty to foreign powers,” Villarin said during a press conference.
He added that the ROTC could be used to “suppress legitimate dissent and go against citizens critical of his administration.”
Although Rep. Ruffy Biazon, House national defense committee senior vice chair, backed Duterte’s plan and had filed House Bill No. 1260 proposing mandatory ROTC, other opposition lawmakers assailed Duterte’s pronouncement.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao also backed Villarin’s views, pointing out the irony that while Duterte wants to make the ROTC program mandatory to promote nationalism and love for country, he “has all the time of his life selling our sovereignty to China and had done nothing to stop China’s island grabbing of Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.”
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago also opposed the revival of mandatory ROTC both for college and senior high school students as a way to instill discipline and nationalism among the youth.
“As history has shown, it is not President Duterte nor the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) nor even the Philippine National Police (PNP) who can instill discipline and nationalism in the hearts of the youth. In reality, these very institutions harm, harass, rape, and worst, kill the youth and the Filipino,” she stressed. /ee
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