“Reviving mandatory ROTC is a disservice to the Filipino students” – NUSP
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), together with students of various universities and colleges, trooped the Commission on Higher Education Friday, August 12, 2016 to oppose the administration’s plan of reviving the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in every higher educational institution in the country.
NUSP continues to be at the forefront of the campaign in abolishing ROTC since the death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua in 2001. His death came after he exposed the corruption and malpractices of the ROTC officers, including the surveillance and harassment of progressive students and organizations in their university.
“Reviving mandatory ROTC is a disservice to the Filipino students. Contrary to belief that ROTC instills disciple and good citizenship to students, it maintains the fascist and feudal relation between officers and cadets, and the culture of impunity inherent in the program” NUSP spokesperson Kevin Castro said.
Last 2014, PUP students called for the abolition of ROTC due to hazing reports exposed by two female cadets. They were hit with wooden sticks and wooden rifles several times as punishment for their non-attendance in one of the ROTC unit’s events. During the same year, De La Salle University students exposed the physical and sexual abuses they experienced when they joined ROTC. This year, videos of hazing done to cadets by ROTC officials in University of Mindanao – Tagum City trended online. ROTC is also used to justify the presence of military forces in universities and colleges, a violation of the Sotto-Enrile Accord that prohibits military and police presence in the premises of educational institutions.
“The history of ROTC is a history of violence, power-tripping, and impunity. How can a program that infuses fear and terror among students teach discipline and nationalism? ROTC does not equate with patriotism and nationalism. From its inception, it continues to violate the students’ democratic and academic rights,” Castro added.
The students urge President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his position on mandatory ROTC, stating that he must listen to the appeal of the Fiipino youth.
“President Duterte, you cannot just inculcate a lesson or two about nationalism and discipline overnight through ROTC. If you really are sincere in educating the Filipino students, improve the educational system of the country. Fight with us for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education,” Castro ended. ###