8 February 2017
Reference: Mark Vincent D. Lim,
NUSP National Spokesperson (+63) 917 565 4963
In the heels of President Duterte’s latest pronouncements, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) once again registers its vehement opposition to the revival of mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12. The NUSP stands firm that the ROTC program is nothing more than a fascist tool of repression used by the state to instill a militaristic mindset among the Filipino youth.
“The Filipino students have nothing to gain from this proposal. Contrary to the claims of its advocates, the ROTC program does not teach nationalism and discipline to students. Rather it seeks to perpetuate a culture of blind obedience and impunity that is inherent to the program. The explicitly fascist and feudal relations between officers and cadets is a testament to this” NUSP National Spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim said.
“It cannot be stressed enough that the history of the ROTC program is one that is laden with corruption, violence, and abuse. Since its inception, it has continuously violated the democratic and academic rights of Filipino students.” Lim said.
“We should never forget the murder of UST Student Mark Welson Chua in 2001 at the hands of ROTC officers. He was killed in retaliation for exposing the corruption and malpractices of the ROTC program – which includes the harassment and surveillance of progressive students and organizations in the university.” Lim said.
“Chua’s murder paved the way for the passing of RA 9163, also known as the NSTP Act of 2001, which made ROTC optional for college students. However, contrary to the claims of reforms being made after 2001, the culture of violence and impunity still continues. It is unsurprising then that rights violations still continue.” Lim explained.
In 2014, hazing reports were exposed by two female cadets in PUP students. As punishment for their non-attendance, they were hit with wooden sticks and wooden rifles several times. By no means was this an isolated incident. That same year, students of De La Salle University exposed the physical and sexual abuses they were put through during their time in the ROTC.
In 2016, several videos trended online showing ROTC officials severely hazing cadets in University of Mindanao – Tagum City. That same year, allegations of sexual abuse in the ROTC program of Benguet State University also came to light. Such abuses have led many progressive youth organizations to call for the abolition of ROTC.
The NUSP also stated that the ROTC is also used to justify the presence of military forces in universities and colleges, a violation of the Sotto-Enrile Accord that prohibits military and police presence in the premises of educational institutions.
“This latest policy is especially bothersome once we put it into the context of the Duterte administration’s series of extra judicial killings and intensifying fascism. Its so-called war on drugs, the cancellation of the GRP-NDFP peace talks, and now this. All of these seek to create an atmosphere of fear among the Filipino people. We call on youth and students to mobilize and show our opposition in mandatory ROTC” Lim concluded. (NUSP)