May 3, 2023 (9:49 PM)

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Infographic by Earl Geibriel Dicipulo

With the talks of reviving the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in the Marcos administration, the SAMAHAN Research and Development (R&D) unveiled through a survey conducted that most Ateneans are against the program’s reinstatement.

Out of 378 respondents, 267 (70.6 percent) students were not in favor, 73 (19.3 percent) were in favor, and 38 (10.1 percent) claimed that they were not affected by the implementation. 

According to the report, the reasons behind the students’ opposition to mandatory ROTC include “concerns related to health, its impact on the quality of education, and the safety and purpose of the training.”

On the other hand, the students who were for the implementation cited “character and discipline building, promotion of nationalism and patriotism, and its benefits for the mental and physical aspects of a student” as reasons for their support.

The students who voted that they were not affected by the implementation were wary of “implementation, safety, and security but brought up character-building and nationalism.”

Contrary to the university results, the Pulse Asia Survey commissioned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian revealed that 78 percent of Filipinos agree with reinstating the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC), with respondents from Mindanao having the highest supporters at 92 percent.

The survey also showed that only 13 percent of respondents disagreed, 8 percent were undecided, and the rest had insufficient knowledge regarding the issue.

Outgoing University President Fr. Joel Tabora,  S.J. also previously expressed his dissent towards ROTC, as reported in a 2019 Atenews article, stating that it is not the “discipline we need.” Similarly, he challenged the program’s necessity amidst other pressing issues in his opening speech on the 2023 Oath Taking and Awarding of Certificates of Election Ceremony.

If implemented, a budget of P61.2 billion will be allotted to the program. Lawmakers such as Robin Padilla, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, and Francis Tolentino were for the program, stating patriotism and nation-building as the reasons. However, rights groups have actively protested against the implementation, noting that it “adds burden to students.”

ROTC is one of the current components of Republic Act No. 9163, also known as  the “National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001,” along with the Literacy Training Service and Civic Welfare Training Service. The program remains an option for universities and colleges to follow. 

This initiative was “designed to provide military training to tertiary level students in order to motivate, train, organize and mobilize them for national defense preparedness,” according to Section 3b of the law. However, the mandatory implementation of the initiative was abolished after the death of Mark Chua, who exposed the corruption behind his university’s mandatory ROTC program. 

This article was published in the April 2023 Issue of Atenews. Read it here: https://issuu.com/atenews/docs/atenews_2023_tabloid



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