MANILA - Kabataan party-list on Thursday filed House Bill 2399, which aims to abolish the Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC.
Party-list Representative Sarah Elago said they oppose the government's plan to revive the mandatory nature of ROTC. She said the bill is a counter measure for the full implementation of ROTC, which the group believes is inimical to the rights and welfare of the students.
Duterte eyes revival of mandatory ROTC
Elago said that years after its implementation, ROTC was proven irrelevant in fostering discipline, social responsibility and patriotism in the youth. In fact she said, it became a hotbed for abuses including corruption, bribery, extortion, collection of unauthorized and excessive fees, and physical and verbal violence.
"Kahit hindi pa mandatory, nagpatuloy pa rin ang report ng mga abuses, sexual harassment, physical harassment, verbal abuse, at power tripping sa mga eskwelahan," she said.
ROTC a hotbed for abuses, says group
The group also fears that the military has been misusing schools as a venue for their military intelligence operations and extension of their counter insurgency campaign. "Ang AFP nagagamit ang mga eskwelahan natin to monitor organizations that are critical of government policies," she said.
"Kami ay sumusuporta kay Pangulong Duterte sa nationalism but mandatory ROTC is not the way to go," she said.
The group proposes a better and improved version of the current National Service Training Program (NSTP) to widen the skills of the youth and raise their socio-political consciousness. This can be done through comprehensive community service, community based health and nutrition program, community immersion, disaster preparedness, ecological services, and human rights education.