ROTC may soon be mandatory once more for students. On Feb. 7, President Duterte approved a plan to revive the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) for 12th and 11th grade student nationwide. If approved, the proposal will amend the Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act., Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol quoted Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana as saying “ROTC instills patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual values, respect for human rights and adherence to the Constitution.” But student activist group aren’t on board. The National Union of Students of the Philippines and the League of Filipino Students say ROTC “seeks to perpetuate a culture of blind obedience” and “instills fear.”
Mandatory ROTC was abolished 16 years ago following the death of student Mark Welson Chua. He was killed after exposing alleged corruption in his ROTC unit at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). Since the, ROTC has been an optional course.