Catholic students oppose mandatory ROTC? No need to convince ‘unpatriotic Filipinos,’ says Bato | Inquirer News

Catholic students oppose mandatory ROTC? No need to convince ‘unpatriotic Filipinos,’ says Bato

By: - Reporter / @BPinlacINQ
/ 12:17 PM June 16, 2023

ROTC cadets in training

ROTC REVIVAL A Marine trains a group of students enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) on how to handle a rifle. A Senate bill is seeking to revive mandatory ROTC, but this could be hampered by a lack of military personnel to conduct the training. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa remains unfazed by a survey that found most Catholic school students opposing the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.

A recent Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP) poll showed that 53 percent of over 20,000 students from over 1,500 Catholic schools are against the proposal to restore the obligatory school-based military training program.


READ: Most Catholic school students oppose ROTC

Dela Rosa, who is shepherding the passage of the ROTC bill in the Senate, said Friday that he finds it unnecessary to persuade “unpatriotic Filipinos” to back the measure.

“Defending this country is not a matter of choice. It is a constitutional duty of every citizen of this republic. Therefore, there is no need of convincing these unpatriotic Filipinos,” dela Rosa told reporters in a message.

The CEAP survey results are in contrast with the findings of a Pulse Asia poll commissioned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who is also among the main proponents of the ROTC bill.

It found that nearly 8 in 10 Filipino adults, who are not necessarily students, agreed with proposals to restore the mandatory ROTC program for all college students.

The bid to revive the mandatory ROTC program in the country has triggered an uproar from students, youth groups, and even lawmakers, who recalled the reason why it was abolished in the first place.

A University of Santo Tomas student was brutally killed in 2001 after he exposed alleged corruption in his school’s military training program.


This later prompted the government to abolish the mandatory ROTC program.

Despite the staunch opposition of critics, dela Rosa, a former police chief, has kept firm in pushing for the measure even as he recognized that it was “normal” to fear the reinstatement of a program given its history of corruption and abuses.

The bill, according to the senator, provides safeguards that would prevent any form of abuse, violence, or corruption in the ROTC program.

Two of the country’s highest government officials are among the biggest backers of the mandatory ROTC program.

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Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte has previously expressed hope to have this measure among the legislative priorities under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Marcos, meanwhile, urged Congress to pass a law requiring ROTC for senior high school students during his first State of the Nation Address in July 2022.


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TAGS: Catholic school students, Ronald dela Rosa, ROTC

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