Kabataan party-list, students protest mandatory ROTC

Anna Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2022 10:20 PM

MANILA—Kabataan Party-list members and students from various universities kicked off a unity walk on Thursday to push for a “100% safe, accessible, and quality education” policy agenda instead of the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

The unity walk also marked today's celebration of the 4th Philippine National Students' Day and the 81st International Students' Day.

Around 4 p.m., participants gathered at the gates of the University of Sto Tomas along Espana Blvd., before heading to the Far Eastern University in Morayta where more students joined them before marching to Mendiola.

The unity walk, however, was halted along Recto Avenue after Barbosa Station 14 police personnel blocked the path of the protestors for lack of a permit.

The cops asked the protesters to hold their program in Freedom Park.

“Kami ay nakikiusap. Kung gusto niyo ituloy ang programa doon kayo sa Liwasang Bonifacio. Bawal po dito,” Station 14 commander P/Lt. Col Ramon Nazario told the group.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel, however, insisted they do not need a permit.

“Karapatan namin. We are exercising our right to freedom of expression,” he asserted.

Nazario argued they will be forced to disperse the youth group and students as they were reportedly causing traffic.

“Abot Divisoria na po ang traffic. Bawal po dito. Nagagalit na taong bayan sa traffic,” he said.

Past 5 p.m., protestors finally agreed to move their program to Liwasang Bonifacio.