KAGUMA-EV: Reject the mandatory ROTC bill!

This article is available in Waray

The Kalipunan ng mga Gurong Makabayan-Eastern Visayas (KAGUMA-EV) said today the proposed mandatory Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), one of the priority bills to be railroaded by the new Marcos regime, seeks to curtail academic freedom, militarize schools, and suppress the critical mind.

“Out of fear for the upsurge of student demonstrations akin to the First Quarter Storm, Marcos Junior is expected to railroad the mandatory ROTC and intensify repressive measures, militaristic interventions, and gross and systematic rights violations to the student youth and allied forces in the academe,” said Edgardo Sarigan, spokesperson of KAGUMA-EV.

As it stands, Sarigan noted cases of military encampment in schools and other cases of terror attacks affecting the security, welfare, and academic growth of children and the peasant youth. Student organizations in the University of the Philippines-Tacloban and University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) have long been publicly red-tagged and subjected to surveillance by the AFP.

Several teachers and members of the academe have also been harassed in the guise of “profiling” and arrested out of trumped-up charges as in the case of Nestor Ada, a principal of Rosario National High Scool in Northern Samar, who was nabbed inside the school’s sleeping quarters last year, and UEP president Rolando Delorino, who was killed by state forces in a false-flag operation staged against the New People’s Army.

“The mandatory ROTC will only aggravate these attacks and give room to AFP’s unscrupulous lies and slander against progressive student leaders and teachers. The mandatory ROTC is a propaganda machine for heightened fascist and counter-revolutionary indoctrination and the suppression of the critical mind,” Sarigan said.

ROTC is also a recruitment hub of the Student Intelligence Network (SIN) where students are turned into assets to spy on their schoolmates and teachers. Sarigan reminded the public of the case of Mark Welson Chua, whose dead body was seen afloat on a river after he exposed corruption anomalies involving ROTC officials. The incident fueled public uproar which pushed legislators to abolish the mandatory ROTC.

“Learning how to march, to hold the rifle, and to do the snappy salute do not lead to nationalism and discipline but tobblind conformity to marching orders,” Sarigan said in response to justifications that the mandatory ROTC will cultivate nationalism and discipline among the youth.

“The AFP — who will administer the ROTC in collaboration with the Sara Duterte-led education department — has no track record of patriotism and discipline. It is in fact notorious for its attacks against nationalists, cowardice in the face of imperialist plunder, and being the most undisciplined institution who siphon corruption money from the government’s heavy military financing while benefitting from the pork barrel economics of ‘confidential’ intelligence funds.”

KAGUMA-EV calls on the youth and students, their fellow educators, and allied sectors to reject and raise their voices against the proposed mandatory ROTC, expose military occupation of schools and other rights violations, and fight each attempt by the new Marcos regime to militarize the Philippine education.

KAGUMA-EV: Reject the mandatory ROTC bill!