MANILA, Philippines – Despite claiming in public speeches that he tried to skip ROTC as a student, President Rodrigo Duterte himself wants the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to become mandatory for senior high school students.
In his 2019 State of the Nation Address, he reiterated his support for the passage of the bill, arguing that this would “strengthen” the defense of the country. (READ: Duterte revives call to pass bill on mandatory ROTC)
Senators did not pass the controversial measure in the 17th Congress due to “lack of time” despite the President certifying it as urgent.
On Thursday, August 22, the Senate conducted its first public hearing on the proposal to revive the ROTC program. While backers of the bill argued that this would “teach discipline and nationalism,” Filipinos online took a swipe at lawmakers who were pushing it.
Meanwhile, for Orland Nolasco Miñoza, fixing the K to 12 education curriculum should be a priority instead of the ROTC program.
Four years since its implementation, the K to 12 program has faced a lot criticism surrounding its curriculum and the lack of facilities of public schools. (READ: K to 12 under Duterte administration faces new challenges)
A study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) showed that some schools were not ready to provide the various tracks and strands under the program. (READ: [OPINION] Why senior high school needs urgent fixing)
Prone to corruption
Critics slammed the proposal, saying the ROTC program would only expose students to corruption. (READ: Mandatory ROTC will expose students to corruption, says lawmaker)
While most netizens strongly opposed the proposal, Laurence Besa suggested making community service mandatory instead. (READ: Gatchalian says ROTC bill to cost gov’t P38 billion a year if passed)
Without citing data to support his claim, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said during the Senate hearing that majority of the Filipino youth want the ROTC program to be mandatory. (READ: Bato dela Rosa flares up at activist during ROTC hearing)
“Maraming kabataan ang gustong-gustong mag-ROTC dahil gusto nilang magsilbi sa bansa,” Dela Rosa said. (Many youth strongly support the ROTC program because they want to serve the country.)
Do you think making ROTC mandatory would instill a sense of nationalism and patriotism among Filipino youth? Sound off in the comments! – Rappler.com