Survey found more Filipinos in favor of mandatory ROTC, says Gatchalian | Inquirer News

Survey found more Filipinos in favor of mandatory ROTC, says Gatchalian

By: - Reporter / @BPinlacINQ
/ 12:58 PM April 11, 2023

ROTC REVIVAL A Marine trains students in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) on handling a rifle.  —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — More Filipinos favor the controversial proposal to reinstate the country’s mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps program, according to a Pulse Asia Survey commissioned by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate panel on basic education, arts and culture, on Tuesday disclosed the results of the poll – conducted from March 15 to 19 – which showed that 78 percent of 1,200 Filipino respondents above the age of 18, and not necessarily students, are for the reimposition of compulsory ROTC.


Of this figure, 43 percent “strongly agree” while 35 percent “somewhat agree” with the proposed measure.


Instilling discipline and responsibility to the youth emerged as the top reason among the respondents who support mandatory ROTC.

Other justifications as to why they are backing the ROTC bill are the following:

  • To train students so they are prepared to defend the country – 60 percent
  • To teach or develop leadership skills to the youth – 59 percent
  • To teach the value of teamwork to the youth – 52 percent
  • To improve the youth’s level of physical fitness – 40 percent
  • To make young people patriotic – 35 percent

Fears block support for mandatory ROTC

Pulse Asia further found that 13 percent of the respondents reject the mandatory ROTC proposal – seven percent firmly oppose it, while six percent “somewhat disagree” with it.

Fears of an increase in cases of hazing, abuse, and harassment deter 75 percent of those who buck the bill, while 56 percent of them believe “it will just waste the time of the youth that should be dedicated to studying.”

Other reasons for those who oppose the ROTC bill are the following:

  • It becomes only an instrument of power for the leaders or officers – 44 percent
  • It’s an extra burden for students – 43 percent
  • It will only cause mental health problems for youth – 40 percent
  • There will be corruption in schools – 17 percent

According to Gatchalian’s office, Pulse Asia conducted the Ulat ng Bayan survey of 1,200 adult respondents, segregated into 300 from Metro Manila, Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila), Visayas, and Mindanao.


“Gender and urban-rural controls are provided in accordance with demographic projections for 2014 based on the 2010 National Statistics Office Census of Population,” they told reporters.

The senator’s camp further stated that the margin of error is ±3 percent at the nationwide level and ±6 percent at the local level.

Meanwhile, Octa Research political analyst Ranjit Rye told in a text message that the Pulse Asia findings “confirm the Octa survey results of last quarter.”

An uncommissioned poll conducted by Octa from October 23 to 27 last year found that 68 percent of adult Filipinos agree with the plan to make ROTC mandatory for those above 18 years old, while around 28 percent were against it.

ROTC bill in Senate

Among the senators who had filed a bill to make the ROTC program obligatory again, Gatchalian previously said there is a “big chance” that the proposed measure will be passed in the 19th Congress.

READ: ‘Big chance’ mandatory ROTC bill will pass 19th Congress —Gatchalian 

In March, Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa elevated to the Senate plenary the proposal to restore mandatory ROTC for students in higher education institutions and technical-vocational institutions despite staunch opposition from fellow lawmakers and youth groups.

READ: Dela Rosa takes mandatory ROTC bill to Senate floor: We’ve learned from past mistakes

The murder of Mark Welson Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who exposed alleged corruption in his school’s military training program, prompted the government to abolish obligatory ROTC in 2002. It became optional through the National Services Training Program Act of 2001.

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But Dela Rosa, in his sponsorship speech, promised that enough safeguards – like grievance boards per ROTC unit – are in place in the proposed measure to avoid repeating the previous mistakes committed under the program.

TAGS: Gatchalian, ROTC

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