MANILA — A student organization on Friday called on government to scrap its plan of reviving the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps following the hazing death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig.
Jandeil Roperos, president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, warned the mandatory military training for students could lead to more violence in schools.
"Ang ROTC program na ito ay punong-puno ng cases ng abuses, physical and mental infliction sa mga miyembro nito o sa mga estudyante," she told TeleRadyo.
"Tutol talaga sa revival ng mandatory ROTC program dahil maaari' tong mag-breed ng more case of violence at hazing," she added.
In response, Sen. Koko Pimentel backed the scrapping of the bill that would make ROTC mandatory. "Make it only optional to those who are 'militarily inclined' or interested in military matters," he said.
Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, hower, slammed the rpoposal.
"What a desperate move from anti ROTC Leftist group. What is the connection? The victim died because of fraternity hazing and not of ROTC training," he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian noted that Salilig's death by hazing was "perpetuated by individuals who have absolutely no respect for the rule of law."
"The goal of ROTC, on the other hand, is to inculcate discipline and good citizenship among the youth. It is precisely incidents like these that ROTC intends to eliminate by molding our youth to respect our country and one another," he said.
He added: "The [Anti-Hazing] law is airtight and equipped with safeguards that will prevent abuses from happening."
The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the controversial death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who was allegedly killed by fellow cadet officers for exposing corruption in the program.
ROTC is now 1 of the 3 components of the National Service Training Program, along with Civic Welfare Training Service and Literacy Training Service.
Currently, military service in the Philippines is voluntary. However, Article 2, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides for the possibility of conscription.
Salilig was reported missing by his brother on February 20. He was found more than a week later buried in a vacant lot in Imus, Cavite.
A witness earlier told police the victim was beaten at least 70 times.
A medico-legal examination revealed Salilig died due to
severe blunt force trauma in the lower extremities.