Student groups oppose making ROTC mandatory again
Youth groups have urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to push for the passage of a law making the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program mandatory again.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and militant group Anakbayan both expressed opposition against the said move.
NUSP spokesperson Kevin Castro said that instilling discipline among the youth can be done without resorting to a mandatory ROTC program.
“The unpopularity of bringing back mandatory ROTC remains significant as students, parents, and school officials are highly convinced that it is not only through that program wherein the youth can be instilled ‘discipline’ and ‘good citizenship,’” Castro said.
Castro cited cases where alleged abuses have been committed against students who are enrolled in the ROTC program, such as the 2014 case of two female cadets from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines who were hit with wooden sticks and rifles after they failed to show up in one of the ROTC’s events; and the alleged hazing done to cadets by ROTC officials in University of Mindanao – Tagum which was caught on video and has become viral online this year.
Meanwhile, Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo not only thumbed down attempts to make ROTC mandatory but has called for the program’s abolition.
“ROTC should be abolished, not made mandatory. The program has never instilled nationalism, social responsibility, or discipline. It is a training ground for fascist repression and corruption,” Crisostomo said.
He said that hazing and abuses will only get worse if the ROTC becomes mandatory again.
“ROTC is no longer mandatory and yet the rampant violence and abuse of students’ rights under the program continues. The program is even used by active duty officers to conduct military surveillance in various schools. This will only get worse if ROTC is made mandatory,” he added.
Last Tuesday, Duterte’s chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said that making ROTC mandatory again was one of the topics discussed during Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
Duterte allegedly wants to make ROTC mandatory again to instill “discipline” and “love of country” among the youth.
“Wala na raw disiplina ‘yung young generation kaya na-aadik sa drugs. Walang spirit of love of country (The young generation he said has no discipline so they become addicted to drugs. There’s no spirit of love of country),” Panelo was quoted as saying.
The National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act, which was enacted in 2002 under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, made the ROTC “optional and voluntary.”
Bill filed reviving ROTC for college students
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.