President Duterte recently approved the proposal to revive the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools nationwide.
Mr. Duterte has certified as “urgent” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s proposal amending Republic Act No. 7077 to make ROTC mandatory.
ROTC, said Lorenzana, would instill “a sense of patriotism” among the youth.
The course—which aims to provide military training to college students to equip them with skills as part of national defense preparedness—has had a long history of violence and hazing.
It used to be mandatory until 2002, when the National Service Training Program Act of 2001 was passed, giving students options: ROTC, Civil Welfare Training Services, or Literacy Training Services.
What do students think about the revival of ROTC?
Not for everyone
“I am not in favor of it. Given the nature of the program, not everyone is physically capable of the rigid training.” —Epimarie Dano, 20, Bachelor of Elementary Education, Ateneo de Davao University
“I agree; if the country needs more soldiers, ROTC can provide it. ROTC training is useful.” —Mary Pauline Ticong, 19, Bachelor of Elementary Education, Ateneo de Davao University
“I am not in favor of Duterte’s plan to make ROTC mandatory because some students are not physically fit. You can’t force a person if he or she doesn’t want and can’t do it physically, mentally and emotionally. There has to be willingness and eagerness to be part of the ROTC. You can’t discipline a person by letting him or her join the ROTC. Discipline starts within ourselves.” —Frances Grace Marie Almano, 19, BS Technology Communication Management, Mindanao University of Science and Technology
“Yes, if they change the curriculum of the program. Marching under the scorching sun for long hours is not enough to make a person patriotic. I have friends who graduated under this program who didn’t even have a slight idea of its purpose. Some hated it due to abusive superiors. Some liked it because they thought it was cool.
“I hope they will reform the program according to its true purpose. Also, is this
mandatory only for college students? How about the out-of-school youth? They need to be part of this, too. —Isis Diane D. Siangco, 25, BS Technology Communication Management, Mindanao University of Science in Technology
Sense of duty
“As a member of today’s youth generation, I agree with President Duterte’s idea to revive ROTC. It would promote nationalism especially among those of us preoccupied with other things. ROTC can teach the youth to be more responsible, independent, and disciplined mentally, emotionally and spiritually.” —Amara Abrina, 21, BS Social Work, Ateneo de Davao University
“I am in favor of making ROTC mandatory. Nowadays, we find the youth isolating themselves from the social realities of Philippine society. They refuse to accept these social realities, and instead absorb themselves in pleasurable yet temporary activities such as drinking and partying. Such isolation is a breeding ground for apathy and ignorance. Mandatory ROTC can change this in a way that creates a sense of duty to contribute to Philippine society and a sense of responsibility in defending the common welfare.” —Ivan Jules Capin, 19, BS Public Management, Ateneo de Davao University
“I agree with President Duterte to make ROTC mandatory for college students. Our generation should learn to be independent and responsible on their own. We should know our culture and not just dwell on whatever is in front of us. By making ROTC mandatory, it would kill all the apathy of today’s youth. It would make them responsible and contribute to making this country a better one.” —Bianca Binag, 19, BS Entrepreneurship, Ateneo de Davao University
“To have the ROTC as a mandatory program for college students would mean having more reserved combatants. It would be an additional load of tasks for college students, but it is an advantage to our nation in trying times. I approve of the President wanting to make it mandatory.” —Jethro Louis Dillera, 20, Mass Communication, Ateneo de Davao University
“Mandatory ROTC will equip students with necessary life skills and discipline, making them well-rounded.” —Dani Rose Aguiadan, BS business administration, University of Mindanao