In an article entitled “Freshmen urged to enroll in ROTC” which appeared in the second page of Baguio Midland Courier’s May 22 issue, (http://www.baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/city.asp?mode=archives/2011/may/5-22-2011/city5.txt) the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps program under the National Service Training Program under the tertiary curriculum was promoted.
In the article, Colonel Nick Alarcio said that the ROTC program “shall promote civic consciousness among the youth and shall develop their physical, moral spiritual, intellectual and social well-being.” However, in another part of the article, it said that the ROTC “is designed to motivate, train, organize and mobilize them for national defense preparedness.”
This second quotation gave us the point of entry in criticizing this promotion of ROTC. While the claim of the military men backing up the program seems a viable point on the surface, this does not match with the actual practice of the program. The military’s main convincing factor is that ROTC instills rigid discipline among students, hence, making it a worthwhile program to enroll in. But in practice, the ROTC is only being used by the military in their favor.
To begin with, it is already worth-questioning why does the military concern itself with the system of education in the country. If we ask this, we will only prove the veracity of the claim that the military has vested interests in promoting ROTC among college students. ROTC can be used as a breeding ground for student intelligent networks inside campuses whose goal is to demonize the image of legitimate student leaders. In that way, they can guard and even paralyze the activities of student leaders who are only identified to be at the forefront of student mobilizations and actions regarding national and local issues.
Also, ROTC is reprehensible because it subtly inculcates not only a military-like discipline but also a military-like mentality among its students. This mentality is rooted on protecting the interests of the higher officials, from the army or the government, even if they are in the wrong. The program also fosters the rigid hierarchies present among the ranks of military which often lead to power-tripping and exploitation of others.
It is from these grounds that the CEGP Baguio-Benguet opposes the ROTC and discourages students to enroll under this program.
COLLEGE EDITOR’S GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES BAGUIO-BENGUET