Davao youth opposes ROTC revival
August 6, 2010 | Davao youth opposes ROTC revival | Davao City --- Progressive youth group League of Filipino Students and member of Anakbayan – SMR staged a protest action yesterday to express its strong opposition against plans of the Aquino administration and the AFP to revive mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
Karlos Manlupig, LFS-Southern Mindanao Regional Spokesperson, explained that the maneuvering of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Department of National Defense (DND) to resurrect the mandatory ROTC is an expression of the state’s militarist bent especially in reviving once again its plan to train young students for combat, intelligence and other military-related purposes.
Mandatory ROTC was abolished in 2001 after waves of massive protests were staged nationwide due to longstanding complaints of corruption, hazing, mental abuses and harassments of student leaders and activists. The ROTC abolition was also triggered by the murder of one Mark Chua, a student at the University of Sto. Tomas, in March 2001.
Chua exposed the corruption in the ROTC corps in the UST’s college newspaper, an expose which resulted in the relief of the ROTC commandant and his staff. As a result of his courageous act, he got death threats and was later assigned to undergo security training in Fort Bonifacio. He was killed a few days later, when his body was found floating in the Pasig river; his body bore torture marks, hands hogtied and face wrapped with packing tape
“Mandatory ROTC will resurrect once again the evils which Chua exposed, and which thousands of students have experienced. It will also foster campus militarization, mental and physical abuses, and additional financial burden to students and their families who are hardly able to cope with skyrocketing prices of tuition fees,” said Manlupig.
“There is no need for students to undergo ROTC because the purported trainings, as being justified by the AFP for the revival of the ROTC, are already being conducted under the NSTP-CWTS program. All students who underwent this program will automatically be reserve volunteers that may be deployed in times of calamities and emergencies,” said Manlupig.
The youth groups also lambasted the AFP’s logic that ROTC is the most effective program in teaching patriotism and discipline.
“Fascism is not synonymous to patriotism and discipline. If the government is sincere in teaching the youth patriotism, the most plausible option is to overhaul the colonial structure of our education system from and change it one that is nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented,” Manlupig said.
He added, “The people, particularly the youth, has rejected ROTC already. We cannot afford to see another Mark Chua who will die brutally under the hands of ROTC and the military personnel,” Manlupig said.#
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