‘Bato’ hits admin critics for ‘wanting war’ with China, yet against ROTC revival
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Wednesday slammed those criticizing the Duterte administration for not playing tough with China, yet wouldn’t even support the revival of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program.
During the hearing of the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, Dela Rosa said these critics appear to be “calling for war,” but are against the mandatory military education and training for students.
“Alam natin yung imminent threat coming from China… nag-occupy sila sa West Philippine Sea but marami tayong mga kababayan ngayon—matatanda man or bata—na gustong gustong makipag-giyera talaga sa China. Gustong gusto nila. They’re blaming the government for a ‘very weak stance’ against China kuno at gustong gusto nilang makipag-giyera pero ayaw naman nilang mag-ROTC,” Dela Rosa said.
(We know the imminent threat coming from China… they are occupying parts of the West Philippine Sea but a lot of our fellow Filipino—old or young—want war. They really want it. They’re blaming the government for a supposedly ‘very weak stance’ against China and they really want war but they are against ROTC.)
Dela Rosa further pointed out that “China [it has] a very strong army, a very strong reserve force and a very strong militia.”
The topic of reviving the mandatory ROTC program in schools resurfaced as Dela Rosa asked a military official, who is up for CA confirmation, regarding his stand on calls to revive such mandatory training for students.
“Do you think talagang nararapat na na ibalik natin yung ROTC para whatever happens in the future magka-giyera man tayo o hindi, kailangang ready tayo as a nation, hindi lang as a military, ang ating mga kabataan—mababae man o malalake—pwede nating ma-mobilize anytime ‘pag magkakaroon ng giyera?” the senator asked Commodore Antonio Palces, deputy chief of staff for education, training and doctrines of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
(Do you think that mandatory ROTC should be revived so that whatever happens in the future, whether there’s a war or not, we are ready as a nation, not just as a military…the youth—whether females or males—we can mobilize them anytime if war wages on?)
“Do you think kailangang kailangan na ba talaga, very urgent na ba talaga na ibalik natin ang ROTC sa ating mga eskwelahan?” Dela Rosa added.
(Do you think we really need, that it is very urgent to revive ROTC in our schools?)
In response, Palces expressed “strong belief” that mandatory ROTC should be brought back in schools.
“I strongly believe that the ROTC program should be revived in the schools… Even [if] ROTC is only held once a week, it instills discipline among the youth which is very needed for a strong country,” the AFP official said.
“And they (students) learn some lessons as far as military things are concerned and if ever push comes to shove, God forbid, we have a ready reserve who can assist the Armed Forces regulars in any capacity,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been urging Congress to pass the revival of the mandatory ROTC.
The ROTC program began in 1912 when the Philippine Constabulary commenced with military instruction at the University of the Philippines.
In 2002, ROTC was made optional through the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001 (Republic Act No. 9163).
Calls to abolish the ROTC were fueled by the killing of University of Santo Tomas sophomore cadet Mark Welson Chua in 2001 after he exposed corruption in his school’s ROTC.
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