ROTC: Harap sa likod, harap sa wala?

I’ve had three years of “military” training — one year of Citizen’s Army Training (CAT), and two years of Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC). I also responded to summons for a two-month reservist’s training post college. What I learned: snappy movements facing one direction at a time and hugging a wooden rifle — things that I couldn’t even use in the times of war, or at least in front of a bully.

I must admit, I learned more in a two-session meeting with a karate instructor than those three years I spent from CAT to ROTC and to the reservist’s training. No wonder why President Rodrigo Duterte himself admitted having tricked the military registrar by submitting medical documents that proved he was too sickly to take ROTC, thus exempting him from the requirement.

Picture credit: pna.gov.ph

In House Bill 5113 introduced by Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, it was argued that the ROTC would lead to the “inculcation of the spirit of nationalism, nation building and national preparedness”. But while we also share these motherhood statements, the advocates of ROTC still have to scientifically prove this claim. After graduating in ROTC, for instance, there were rumors of ROTC platoon leaders and battalion commanders mugged or at least threatened by retalliating students. Not the kind of nation-building and national preparedness we expected from ROTC, right?

Section 4 Article 2 of the Philippine Constitution is clear: The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service. Hence, whether to revive ROTC or not is out of the question.

What should be ask is the content of the curriculum. What is the difference between the previous and the proposed ROTC curriculum? Will the students be receive practical trainings on at least how to fend a punch? Will they also be allowed to touch a real gun and not just hug a wooden one? If not, then scrapped that idea.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

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