Grievance committee to handle hazing, abuse complaints under mandatory ROTC — AFP
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said that a grievance committee will be set up to handle abuse and hazing complaints if the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program will be reimplemented in the country.
AFP Reserve Command commander Brigadier General Rolando Rodil said that members of the committee will be from the AFP, the Department of National Defense (DND), and the Department of Education (DepEd).
Aggrieved parties shall file a written complaint before the grievance committee. The complaint has to be written under oath and signed by the complainant.
Rodil said the complainant could be the aggrieved party, parents or guardians.
Once the complaint is submitted, the committee shall immediately convene and evaluate the validity of the complaint.
The accused will also be required to submit a response or counter-affidavit within a specified period from the date the notice was issued.
If proven guilty, the committee will recommend the dismissal against the accused. Evidence used for the decision will be included in the dismissal recommendation.
The sanction will be implemented by the government agency from which the accused is a part of.
Rodil added that complainants have the right not to be publicly identified and that anonymous complaint will not be scrapped.
Asked if the committee will be limited to investigation and recommendation and not prevention, Rodil said that guidelines will be issued for the officers handling the program to follow.
“All the members of the commanding staff of the ROTC units that will be created will be the ones primarily responsible to prevent issues. We will issue strict guidelines on the conduct of the program and make sure these guidelines are well-cascaded,” Rodil said during the Senate hearing.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the grievance committee will provide a mechanism in addressing abuse, hazing, and corruption cases within the ROTC program.
“If we are talking about two million students [in the ROTC program], then we have two million possibilities for abuse and corruption. So we need to have that mechanism very clear from the onset that there is a prevention process and there’s also an investigation process, as well as a process to sanction those who violated our laws,” Gatchalian said. /ee
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