Senior High principal doubts revival of mandatory ROTC

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File photo by Alvin Joseph Kasiban

THE PRINCIPAL of the UST Senior High School (SHS) has expressed doubt over the revival of mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, citing the unpredictability of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“[I feel] nonchalant [about the matter]. I have come to the conclusion that we have a flip-flopping government so there is always the possibility that what is declared today is scrapped tomorrow,” Pilar Romero said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Romero’s statement came after President Duterte gave a go-signal last Feb. 7 to reinstate mandatory ROTC for grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools nationwide.

Romero said she has no plans of devising an ROTC curriculum for SHS students, adding that she sees no benefits from the compulsory training program.

“I do not believe in it so I do not see any benefits,” she said.

Cadet Col. Karla Guste, commander of the UST Golden Corps of Cadets, said the University’s Department of Military Science and Tactics (DMST) is ready to coordinate with the senior high school should the program push through.

Guste said the curriculum and program of instruction will be crafted by the DMST but must be approved by the UST-SHS administration.

Lawyer Frederick Farolan, who heads the University of the Philippines’ ROTC alumni association, said the implementation of the program may vary depending on discussions between the Department of Education, Department of National Defense and Commission on Higher Education.

“One of the possible scenarios is that the basic ROTC training will be conducted on the senior high school students, while the advanced officers’ and leadership training will be conducted in the tertiary level,” Farolan said in a phone interview.

This academic year, only about 200 students enrolled in the University’s ROTC program due to lack of freshmen as a result of the K to 12 transition.

READ: UST ROTC enrollment down 80%

Congress abolished mandatory ROTC following the death of Thomasian Mark Welson Chua, who exposed anomalies in the UST-ROTC program in 2001 through the Varsitarian.

The passage of the National Service Training Program Act of 2001 made ROTC an optional one-year program. Students were also given the choice to enroll in either the Civic Welfare Training Service and Literacy Training Service.

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