Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email

ROTC?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email

One of my teenaged kids’ concerns with the new administration that we presume will be led Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and Sara Duterte is the return of mandatory ROTC, or the defunct Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and the possibility of mandatory military service for all Filipinos reaching the age of 18.

This is because they are at the age range that will be most affected by these macho proposals that have either no documented positive effect on a society or is so costly that it will likely cause the bankruptcy of a poor and heavily indebted nation like the Philippines.

Let’s start with ROTC, which has had high school the rumor mills buzzing these past few weeks.

The good news for Filipino school kids is that the camp of presumptive vice-president and incoming Education Secretary Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio denied prioritizing ROTC after some person who claims to be in her inner circle said she “really wants he return of mandatory ROTC.”

So, for now, the return of ROTC is simply a rumor that is probably associated with the macho and fighting image of the sitting president’s daughter. We will know how serious she is about it when she does finally take her oath as VP and becomes part of BBM’s cabinet as Education Secretary.

As for me, as someone who has survived that inanity that is ROTC, I am personally against it. I believe that forcing teenagers to stand at attention under the heat of the sun every Saturday or Sunday morning is one of the worst ways to waste time in the history of mankind. Aside from that, ROTC also burdens students and their parents with the additional costs of useless uniforms and equipment that they will need to be kitted out in while sunbathing in fatigues once a week.

I didn’t learn patriotism or discipline in ROTC. All I remembered learning was how to nurse a hangover while trying to take a standing nap in the middle of a football pitch. I also know that I wished I had the money to pay off the officers who were rumored to accept bribes for certifying attendance during those weekends that was the only thing needed to pass the damn course.

The funniest thing about the rumored return of ROTC is that it is being attributed to a woman who probably didn’t even have to go through it because back in those days when Ms. Duterte was of university-age, girls weren’t required to do any ROTC.

Hopefully her spokesperson is accurate and there will be no ROTC under her term as Education Secretary. But if it does come back while she heads DepEd, I hope she takes that pet project seriously and makes the return of ROTC worth the while of the Filipino youth.

The other military-inspired program that the presumptive veep seems to be pushing is mandatory military service for Filipinos who turns 18 in this country. In a campaign that was woefully short on platforms and any debate, this was one of the few things that stood out, when she said in January that if elected, she would push for it and use the Office of the Vice President to urge the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass such legislation.

Where the Philippines will get the money to fund this program that could cost taxpayers billions upon billions every year? For an impoverished country that already has so many problems and is already drowning in debt, spending on mandatory military service doesn’t seem like a good investment.

This isn’t like ROTC where government does nothing while the schools and parents spend on equipment and uniform for the once-a-week sessions. A country that forces its young citizens to go into military service will need a gigantic budget to kit out, arm, house, feed and paid for their service of every conscripted soldier. In one of the world’s most populous nations with a population of more than 100 million, that’s a huge chunk of cash without any payback unless a war conveniently breaks out.

There are many other more effective ways of instilling discipline and patriotism among the youth. Getting them to say “sir yes sir!” isn’t patriotism. It’s just blind obedience, but there are leaders who like that better than a young population that has high standards and expectations from their government and are capable of critical thinking. Maybe that what makes ROTC and mandatory military service so appealing to certain kinds of people.*

ARCHIVES

Read Article by date

June 2024
MTWTFSS
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Get your copy of the Visayan Daily Star everyday!

Avail of the FREE 30-day trial.