Ilocos students welcome mandatory revival of ROTC

LAOAG CITY — The Ilocos youth is supporting the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students.

The mandatory ROTC was abolished in 2002 after the death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Chua, whose killing was linked to his exposé on the anomalies in the training corps.

The Duterte-backed military training requires both male and female students, except those who are physically or psychologically unfit, to undergo a two-year mandatory ROTC to produce well-trained and prepared reservists for military and civic service.

For 25-year-old Moyra Colobong of the Ilocos Norte National High School, the Philippines needs to strengthen its reserve force and one way is by training the young to undergo ROTC.

“This is a stepping stone for us to strengthen our defenses, learn to follow rules and become disciplined,” said Colobong as she admitted kids these days are becoming hard-headed or out of control due to never ending changes of the times, lack or absence of full-time parental guidance, modern preoccupations and gadgets available even for the very young.

Marian Sidly Madamba, 17, also observed these misbehavior from fellow youth hence, with the revival of ROTC, she hopes the rigid training will make them more responsible individuals.

At first, Samuel Guzman, 18, of Barangay 8, Laoag City said he was hesitant about the mandatory ROTC because trainees are expected to cut their hair short but said he was eventually convinced that ROTC is far more important for discipline and survival.

Though he is not inclined to pursue a career in the military, Ian Villanueva, 18, of Barangay 5 , Vintar town said, “We need to have a military training as young as we are because of growing threats from other countries. When things come to worst, at least we are prepared.”

Even officials of the Department of Education agree to this including Secretary Leonor Briones who earlier said, “We cannot be relying on other countries to defend us, so we have to rely on ourselves.”

On December 5, the public will witness the silent drill competition from among the best academies and military training institutions in the Philippines at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila to drum up support for the ROTC.

Participating in the silent drill competition are the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA), Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP), Philippine Army Officer Candidate School (PAOCS), Philippine Navy Officer Candidate School (PNOCS), and Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School (PAFOCS).  Leilanie Adriano / PNA –