‘Where’s patriotism in yielding sovereignty?’
A House opposition member belonging to the Magnificent 7 bloc on Tuesday vowed to block government efforts to revive the controversial Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for students, saying the course was pointless due to the Duterte administration’s foreign policy.
“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,” Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, a member of the bloc, said at a press conference.
The lawmaker also described as “worrisome” the Duterte administration hyping the use of the military and the police to address sporadic violence, warning that ROTC cadets could be used by the government to stifle dissent.
“The state of national emergency still being imposed nationwide can be used as a pretext to mobilize the ROTC to suppress legitimate dissent and go against citizens critical of his administration,” he said.
Villarin added that the National Service Training Program (NTSP), a civic education and defense preparedness program that replaced ROTC in 2002 by virtue of Republic Act No. 9163, was already sufficient to foster patriotism among young adult citizens.
“NSTP was a landmark legislation to inculcate in the youth patriotism, service to our people and discipline,” Villarin said.
He said the program provided for “multidisciplinary and holistic approach, not a purely militaristic one.”
Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, chair of the House committee on public order and security, said on Monday that people like him who came from the uniformed services had always advocated for the revival of ROTC.
“We have always advocated for the return of the ROTC” for students who are capable of undergoing military training, Acop said.
He added that ROTC could help implant in students’ minds military discipline and knowledge.
Reviving ROTC, Acop added, could also help form a pool of recruits for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ reserve force.
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