DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago scored Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after he made a pitch again to revive the Reserve Officers Training Corps as mandatory in school curriculum.
“It’s like choosing between rotten apples — whether through conscription or thru reviving of mandatory ROTC, the President authorizes the AFP to unleash its fascist rule and train new breed of mercenaries among the youth,” Elago said in a statement on Wednesday.
Elago said that “ROTC has ushered in a culture of blind obedience and a skewed notion of discipline, to accompany the army’s efforts to rein in state fascism and terror.”
“Mandatory conscription, in our country’s context, is no different, and maybe even worse: it will just teach more citizens to subscribe to fascist culture and to be disrespectful of others, as seen in the encroachment of civilian rights in the countryside,” Elago pointed out.
On April 23, the President told the national athletes during the opening ceremony of the Palarong Pambansa 2017 that ROTC will roll soon in Grades 11 and 12 in both private and public schools across the country.
The ROTC, according to Duterte, will be mandatory in the Senior High School. But Elago said the restoration of ROTC would only mean an escalation of harassments, abuses and cases such as hazing.
She also added that the abolition of mandatory ROTC in 2002, and its relegation as a part of NSTP, was “short-sighted.”
“ROTC was abolished because simply, it reeks of rottenness that just cannot be ignored and deodorized anymore. Cases of hazing, harassment and similar incidents keep occurring inside the program, up to this very day, too many and too widespread to be declared isolated cases,” Elago said.
“Genuine discipline and patriotism lies in service to the people, in linking with the basic masses, and learning from their painstaking discipline, sacrifice and perseverance in fighting the war for a just and humane society,” she added.
Last year, Kabataan Partylist filed HB 2399 which seeks to abolish the ROTC program. (davaotoday.com)