Mixed reactions to Marcos’ proposed return of mandatory ROTC
Obligatory ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is among the Presidents Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s priority bills.
During his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos said the ROTC and National Service Training Program (NSTP) “would restore the compulsory component of upper secondary curricula, including grades 11 and 12, in all public and private higher education institutions”.
He said it would “motivate, train, organize and mobilize students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for at-risk situations.
RELATED: Marcos includes the return of mandatory ROTC in the legislative agenda
Last June, vice-president and secretary of education Sara Duterte said she hoped mandatory ROTC would be one of Marcos’ priority legislative agendas.
LILY: Sara Duterte urged to respond to education crisis over mandatory ROTC focus
How the public reacted
Filipino netizens have mixed reactions regarding Marcos’ statement.
Some of them disagree with the president.
“There are other ways of expressing our love for our country that can be done WITHOUT this abusive program. Also, the country has very limited resources to provide student support. In other words, WE CANNOT NOT ALLOW THIS, since we are still under a pandemic,” a Twitter user said.
“Secondary students are already struggling and barely surviving high school. Why prioritize the passage of a mandatory ROTC bill? The country is experiencing a [a]university crisis, you think this will solve everything,” Filipino user asked.
“ROTC was never intended to prepare individuals for ‘disaster’. This [ is] to engender a culture of impunity, violence and blind obedience. Do you want young people to learn to serve? The answer is not to institutionalize ROTC. Forward a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education”, another suggested.
Meanwhile, some Filipinos find mandatory ROTC advantageous but have some suggestions.
“Yes to that but no abuse of power for these officers”, a Facebook user said.
“No bad faith with this decision pero dapat siguraduhin na FAIR sa lahat whether anak ng politicians, millionaires/billionaires, celebrities in kung sino pang maimluwensyang tao”, another said.
“Better for [the] government to find ways to fund ROTC training [expenses] to be engaged during the training period. To avoid corrupt practices that caused the program to be suspended earlier,” another Filipino online user suggested.
Why ROTC is optional
ROTC became optional after the murder of cadet Mark Welson Chua, a student at the University of Santo Tomas who spoke out against the injustices and corruption of his officers in his school’s military program.
All male and female students enrolled in bachelor’s or technical or vocational courses of at least two years must be offered ROTC and either Literacy Training Service (LTS) or Civic Wellness Training Service (CWTS) over a period of two semesters, according to the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001.
It is up to Congress to follow up on calls from Marcos and Duterte to revive mandatory ROTC.
So far, Marcos has formed alliances within the lower house and the Senate. Newly elected Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri is his ally, and House Speaker Martin Romualdes is his cousin.