Photo Courtesy: Win Gatchalian via Official Website
I do agree with ROTC, yet with reservations
Prof. Antonio Contreras’s thoughts on bringing back Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) as a mandatory course:
Indeed. Mandatory ROTC is a waste of time and resources.
Make it optional and with benefits. Meanwhile, strengthen civics and citizenship awareness among students. Require all students to take a course similar to what we have in DLSU on Citizenship and Governance. Also require a course on understanding the culture and language of other Filipinos. In fact, even as we encourage students to study foreign languages, it should be made a requirement that students know another Filipino language aside from Tagalog and their mother tongue.
Also, require all students to take martial arts courses, sex education, anti- addiction of all kinds and driving courses (so that they know traffic rules).
Ergo, his thoughts are pretty much practical.
The prudes (the Loyalists, as usual) would completely AGREE with mandatory ROTC, since for them, it instills discipline and patriotism blah blah… but I don’t actually agree. In fact, ROTC, like Martial Law, could be kind or unkind to you. Well, in order for you to be oriented in ROTC, you should undergo CAT (Citizen Advancement Training), to have a grasp on how ROTC works.
ROTC is not bad–however, consider the following factors: Be considerate to people who have experienced its dark side–hazing, powertripping, being treated by crap by power-tripping officers, etc., those things have to be placed in debate before implementation. And please, don’t get me started with countries such as Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, or even Switzerland–the reason why they have mandatory conscription is because, they can AFFORD to invest for funds and resources to implement this form of learning to express love your country unconditionally, aside from the fact that it has political and foreign policy-related situations such as political conflicts regarding ideology (South vs. North Korea), or even religious involvement (Israel vs. most Gulf countries supporting Palestine), sovereignty issues (Taiwan being still the Republic of China), national policy (Singapore), and lastly, neutrality in both local and foreign policy (Switzerland).
Well, could the Philippines afford it? Let’s see.
Before approving ROTC, let us be considerate to some grey areas
The reason why it was abolished in 2001 is simply because of the hazing controversies and sort of “dark sides” it had (#NeverForget Mark Chua, a Thomasian who was killed because he exposed the alleged corruptions inside his unit). However, because we’re in a strategic location, I think this is the time it could be conducive for its comeback. Remember, the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal are both Philippine territory (I repeat, they both are Philippine territories, lest we not forget).
If the prudes want ROTC back (well, because they really despise the leftists–read your history regarding the Cold War, and how communism played a BIG yet controversial role in that period of history), then they must condemn the corruptions inside ROTC. Also, never forget Jeff Cudia who only sacrificed himself, exposing the corruption inside the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)–that “offense for being late” causing his demerits were PURE damage control. This resulted to fewer and fewer graduates of the most prestigious military academy in the Philippines.
#NeverForget the fallen Mark Welson Chua
He was pretty much like the slain Marcos critic from Mapua, Archimedes Trajano, and of course, the late journalist Louie Beltran. Truth is–
One aspect of the story however seems to have been forgotten – that Mark would not have wanted mandatory ROTC abolished.
In 2006, the older Chua told the Varsitarian that if Mark were alive, he would not have supported the policy shift.
“Mark did not want to abolish the ROTC,” said Welson, two years before his death following a heart attack. “It’s not the institution, it’s the way it’s being run.”
Instead of eradicating the anomalies, Welson said, the move might have encouraged more corruption in the two new programs launched by the government under NSTP.
“Instead of one ROTC, now the government and the universities would have two other departments to look after,” Welson said. “These departments can be corrupt too.”
Source: The Varsitarian (retrieved 09 February 2017)
Well, to be honest, Mark Chua only wanted to improve and strengthen ROTC–and how its managed. No wonder, I would like to reveal the irregularities and of course, the loopholes when you are in a CAT/ROTC program–but first, lemme tell you that I did not take up ROTC for personal reasons–as much as I wanted to (well, masaya kasi–and no kidding, it really teaches you self-confidence), I only considered my experience in CAT.
Here were the irregularities and loopholes I encountered in my high school’s version of CAT:
1.) Frankly speaking, the CAT Officers were only used as mere “tools” to protect the school’s vested interests (no offense meant to the officers, but you get my point. I ain’t sourgraping).
2.) Usual scenario: Power-tripping.
3.) Speaking of recruiting and hiring officers, there’s cronyism and nepotism all the way.
4.) Even best cadets are chosen based on cronyism and nepotism–don’t EVER get me wrong here.
5.) The officers were only used as mere tools to continue elitism, corruption, and huge amounts of hypocrisy inside the school.
Maybe these were the things that Mark Chua exposed. Alright, I know this is a sensitive and a critical topic to discuss, however, these were my true observations. I have to admit and open this up, I voluntarily trained to become a CAT Officer, but I stopped–because lately, I realized that I was right in quitting, because simply put, it would be against my principles that I’m upholding today. Only a handful of officers upheld their principles as student leaders up to this very day.
To be honest, this is the harsh reality of the ROTC in the Philippines–starting from CAT:
“In the ph, unfortunately, it is a hotbed for bullying and hazing. It goes with the crab culture. a lot of students choose to become officers not because they want to serve the country, but think of it as a method of attaining some sort of power over others.” — on ROTC, via GRP
Thank goodness, the popular kids and the elitists MUST be grateful that I quit my CAT Officer training, and the mere fact that I chose CWTS instead of ROTC–if I become a CAT or ROTC officer, then they must prepare for me as their boss. I might be power-tripping them.
But nah, I believe that power-tripping is a sign of being unprofessional.
Well, these are my only thoughts about the comeback of mandatory ROTC. One simple hotseat controversy only caused the Philippines to abolish mandatory ROTC–which might be against the victim who exposed the loopholes of ROTC. Lest we not forget, improvements and strengthening of ROTC must push through–if we’re only to follow Mark Chua’s legacy.