Mandatory ROTC pushed

A member of the faculty of the University of Makati yesterday argued that making mandatory the taking by students of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program would benefit the country’s national security.

Public administration Prof. Ederson Delos Trino Tapia told Daily Tribune’s digital show Gising Na! that the Filipino youth should be trained for any eventuality like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Many have said that Ukraine has no chance of winning or even fighting side by side against Russia. However, they (Ukrainians) proved that there’s a fighting chance if the citizens are united, trained, and have a unifying objective,” Tapia explained.

He also said that ROTC enhances discipline and patriotism among the youth and can be a great tool for values formation.

“Many of us don’t think of these traits as requirements in our lives as we’ve become more technology-driven,” Tapia said.

“We know celebrities who have become reservists, which is a big score for those who support the revamp of the ROTC program as a mandatory requirement,” he added.

Tapia stressed the country should keep its 80 percent regular-20 percent reservist military ratio.

“It’s very important to maintain the number of reservists so that we can activate them, train them, and, using the ROTC program, utilize them as stand-by forces,” Tapia explained.

He added that the reservists can also help during disasters.

While ROTC is still offered in schools, it has not been mandatory since 2002, when Republic Act 9163 or the “National Service Training Program Act of 2001” was enacted, effectively stopping ROTC as a mandatory course in schools.

RA 9163 was a product of the anti-ROTC sentiment in schools, following the death of Mark Welson Chua in January 2001 allegedly from the hands of some University of Santo Tomas ROTC cadet officers.

ROTC abuses have also been cited as a factor for its lack of support, with the National Union of Students of the Philippines reporting 18 cases of abuses from 1995 to 2017.

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