February 27, 2024 (3:09 PM)

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Photo courtesy by SAMAHAN Facebook Page

With the ongoing talks of the revival of the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (MROTC), local authorities backed the MROTC bill, arguing its importance in exercising nationalism, while human rights activists slammed the need for MROTC.  

Representing the City Counselor of Davao, Weniferdo C. Gorrez emphasized the right of students to choose how to convey their nationalism for their country through the National Service Training (NSTP) Program.

“Just like disaster preparedness, war preparedness either through voluntary or mandatory ROTC is very important. I hope this will be worthy of consideration and possible action,” Gorrez stated during a roundtable discussion at Ateneo de Davao University. 

Human Rights Activist Mags Maglana also pointed out the shortcomings of MROTC, stating that MROTC is a broken system and that mandatory implementation will only enlarge the issue instead of fixing it.

“Parang pakiramdam ko binabagsak natin sa shoulders ng kabataan yung mga responsibilities that should be responsibilities of everyone and should be develop by everyone, so hindi yata makatarungan na ang ibabala sa kanyon ay ang kabataan,” she stated.  

Accordingly, it can be recalled that Ateneans were not in favor of the revival of the MRTOC, as shown in the survey conducted by SAMAHAN Research and Development. Reasons for disapproval from the student body include ‘safety and purpose of training, health concerns, and impact to quality education.’

On the other hand, National Youth of Commision representative Alexa Dayanghirang urged the implementation of MROTC and recommended reforms that include gender equality, free from fees, full subsidization of uniforms, incentives for ROTC passers, alternative programs for religious and health reasons, and stricter monitoring and punishment in the curriculum. 

“I understand that many will react on how the National Youth of Commission is position[ed] on the implementation of Mandatory ROTC; however, due to inclusivity and love for the country since, again, repeatedly, youth should be part of nation-building … however, with a lot of recommendation to follow,” Dayanghirang stated. 

Additionally, the Director of 1105th Community Defense Center, LTC. Reandrew P. Rubio stated that ROTC plays a vital role in disciplining and instilling patriotism among Filipino youth and explicitly stated that ROTC guarantees and protects the human rights of student cadets.

“I always emphasize this, and based from the guidance of our group commander, even wala pa yung anti-hazing law, we promote and respect human rights,” Rubio stated. 

National Service Reserve Corps – Blue Knights Ready Reserve Unit (NSRC) President Gabriel Emmanuel Undag also said that the deficiency of NSTP law in fostering nationalism should not justify the passing of the mandatory bill. 

“Just because of the shortcomings in achieving these goals … on fostering nationalistic values and civic awareness among NSTP graduate … the discontinuation of NSTP [and] CWTS after this mandatory ROTC is not the best option.” 

With the Marcos’ administration strongly pushing for its passage, the House of Representatives passed the bill last December 2022, seeking to bring back MROTC, consolidating 28 bills from numerous authors, and is currently being discussed in the upper house of Congress. 

The Knights at the Roundtable: A Multi-Sectoral Dialogue on Mandatory ROTC was held at Pakikighinabi Room, CCFC Building, Ateneo de Davao University, last February 24. 



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