Kabataan rep: Mandatory scouting better than mandatory ROTC
MANILA, Philippines — Instead of pushing for a mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program for Filipino students, Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel is pushing for a mandatory scouting program instead.
In a statement on Thursday, Manuel said that aside from the fact that scouting skills can be used in real-life situations, those who would be heading scouting programs are less likely to red-tag individuals or link people to the communist armed movement.
“Mandatory scouting is clearer in its mandate to impart on the youth the necessary skills that they can actually use in real life situations and in volunteer efforts during disasters,” he said.
“Also, scouting is headed by institutions that do not resort to red-tagging and threats to individuals and organizations,” he claimed.
Manuel also believes that institutionalizing scouting in schools will not violate international conventions that aim to prevent the militarization of schools.
“Scouting is safer for students and does not violate international conventions protecting schools as zones of peace, in contrast to ROTC, which will require the presence of military personnel in campuses and schools,” he noted.
Kabataan and the rest of the Makabayan bloc are firmly opposing a mandatory ROTC program, despite explanations from military officials and proponents of the bill that it would not be militaristic.
During the budget deliberations of the Department of National Defense (DND) at the House of Representatives, Manuel questioned why the need to have a mandatory ROTC program when DND officials said the ROTC program would be about citizen formation and disaster resilience. These topics, he said, can be taught outside a military setup.
READ: DND assures House lawmakers: ROTC is not militaristic
READ: Kabataan, Gabriela solons slam mandatory ROTC
Despite the opposition, leaders of the 19th Congress are positive that the proposal to make ROTC mandatory would be passed under their term.
READ: Congress to pass Medical Reserve Corps, mandatory ROTC bills this year
READ: ‘Big chance’ mandatory ROTC bill will pass 19th Congress —Gatchalian
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