THE CONTRASTING stands on the future of the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) were triggered by a cadet’s expose on the alleged anomalies in the program.

The varying views on the issue, which no one had dared to raise for decades, include options on how to best instill discipline in the Filipino youth.

***

It is through military training, its supporters say, that the youth will learn the values of discipline. They make it appear that the pointless Sunday drills and the officers barking curses are part of the process of disciplining that makes one fit to render patriotic service.

A high school experience taught me that discipline would never be learned from a military training class alone.

I had, for instance, experienced being harshly reprimanded by my Citizens Military Training (CAT) officer in front of my schoolmates.

My officer ran after me in the field and at the top of his lungs he shouted, “Akala ko ba matalino kayo sa science class? Bakit martsa pakaliwa ang ginagawa mo, sinabi kong pakanan? Wala ka palang disiplina!”

I felt humiliated, because my fellow student, who hardly attended classes, had the gumption to brandish that he was superior and more disciplined than me.

***

There was no difference between a cadet training under the sun or the monsoon rain and an “ABnormal” (that is, the “Abnormal” group composed of students who were not capable of attending gruesome drills because of physical weakness). Both students were subjected to maltreatment from officers, who by virtue of wearing fully patched and well-pressed fatigue uniforms had imposed their will on their fellow students.

READ
Ang mga diyos ng silid

But the military training program proved to be counter-productive through the years. As a result, students become less eager to be trained. They have become exactly the opposite of what the program intends them to become.

***

The ROTC course in the University is optional starting this semester with the introduction of the Civic Welfare Service (CWS) and the Military Training Service (MTS) in the curriculum.

Senate education committee chairman Renato Cayetano assured the approval within this month of the bill seeking to make ROTC optional or voluntary.

Starting June 2002, Cayetano said, college students would have the option to take up community service, disaster preparedness, drug prevention, environmental awareness, law enforcement training, and literacy promotion in lieu of ROTC.

The Commission on Higher Education (Ched), private and public colleges and universities’ administrators, and the departments of national defense, interior and local government, social welfare and development, and environment and natural resources would draw the implementing rules of the alternative service courses.

***

These options are more relevant compared with the military training course. The CAT and ROTC courses have lost their true worth because the people implementing them have become corrupt and ruthless.

Their corruption and ruthlessness are such that they killed a cadet who just wanted to reform the system to make it worthy of its name.

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.