'Abusive program': Student leader opposes mandatory military service


Posted at Jan 21 2022 12:06 PM

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MANILA—A student leader opposed Friday the proposal of vice-presidential aspirant Sara Duterte-Carpio of requiring mandatory military training for Filipinos.

"Mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) in the first place has a goal to instill nationalism to students using military-style training," Jonas Abadilla, chairperson of UP Diliman University Student Council, told ANC's "Rundown".

"However, I believe this will be an insult to the decades of student struggle into academic freedom since there are other ways to express nationalism and patriotism that can be done without this abusive program."

Abadilla said the proposed mandatory ROTC "should no longer be resurrected".

"Based on the cases that students are being abused and has this culture of violence and blind obedience, I cannot fully say and believe that mandatory ROTC will have this positive impact to the country," he said.

The ROTC was made optional in 2002 following the controversial death of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who was allegedly slain by course officers after exposing fund mismanagement.

ROTC is now one of the three 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.

For Abadilla, it is hard to see the redeeming value of mandatory military service amid a culture of violence and corruption in the country.

"Instead of having mandatory ROTC, we can promote the values of peace and respect for human rights," he said.