Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Return of mandatory ROTC in Philippine schools: Are you in favor?

ROTC: Yes or No?
The issue of mandatory ROTC is again alive. This 1st week of August, local news reports have circulated that the Armed Forces of the Philippines endorsed the plan of the defense department to bring back mandatory ROTC or Reserved Officers Training Corps in colleges and universities.

Since then, TV and radio programs are abuzz over the said issue. Some are in favor, citing that the present youth lacks discipline and ROTC is a good venue for discipline.

On the other hand, others are against the move since instead of discipline, corruption will be cultivated.

Other Pro-ROTC arguments:
  • "Making ROTC mandatory would also increase the much-needed manpower requirements of the military in times of disaster and other service-related activities."
  • "It's nice to observe male students having their hair cut short."
  • " Since the ROTC was not made mandatory, the number of people aspiring to be soldiers decreased."
  • “Aside from discipline, we are talking about patriotism and love of country here.”
Anti-ROTC arguments:
  • "It's just a waste of time."
  • "Pangwarta ra na."
  • "Why would they force me, if I don't want to serve as a reservist?"
To recall, in 2002, the Philippine Congress passed a law making ROTC just optional instead of mandatory in the college level after alleged corruptions were believed to be prevalent in the program and also following a murder of an ROTC cadet in a popular university. To bring ROTC back requires action from Congress.

I went through ROTC before mandatory ROTC was abolished. At that time, I felt ROTC was just a waste of time. We were just sitting in the field, exposing ourselves to the sun mostly doing nothing, occasionally marching and consuming siopao and soda sold at higher than regular price exclusively by a certain supplier who I suspect gives a portion of the sale to "somebody in the higher chain of command of the ROTC perhaps".

Some who want to avoid the sun, volunteer as personal "transpo" of certain officers.

Those who can afford would donate electric fans or some other thing or fee to evade "sun-bathing".

I think the "little acts of corruption in the ROTC" are common knowledge among all male ROTC cadets at that time.

Yes, there were occasional lectures and even quizzes at times. There were times we are called to help control the crowds especially during Sinulog. But I cannot explain why I felt then it was generally a waste of time most of the time. While are female classmates were studying for a Monday exam, here we are forced to endure the heat doing practically nothing useful even for the country or the community.

If ROTC will be done properly minus the corrupt practices, if ROTC time will be spent wisely and something actually useful for the student and the country will be taught, perhaps I will be in favor of mandatory ROTC.

If  the same ROTC during our time will be brought back, then I think we should forget about it.

How about you? Are you in favor of having ROTC back in Philippine colleges and universities?

See related article in Philippine star online.

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