AFP celebrates ROTC anniversary amid abolition calls
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2014 - 4:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - Amid fresh calls for the complete abolition of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), the military will celebrate on Saturday the 102nd anniversary of the program in Camp Aguinaldo.

About 2,000 cadets from different colleges and universities in Metro Manila will participate in the anniversary of the embattled training program.

ROTC units that will join the event include those of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, University of Santo Tomas (UST), and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), where student activists recently held anti-hazing protests.

Student demonstrations were held in PUP last month in the wake of an alleged hazing incident at the university.

A female freshman said she was hit on the leg seven times with a wooden rifle by two ROTC officers for failing to attend a briefing night last January.

The complaint triggered efforts by activists to start a signature drive against the military trainings, which is part of the National Service Training Program (NSTP).

The military, however, maintained that the ROTC is beneficial to the country.

“The ROTC continues to be a significant source of manpower for the reserve force as well as the active force of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” AFP public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement.

“The program continues to instill discipline and leadership among the youth. It also develops their nationalism and patriotism,” he added.

Zagala said the ROTC inspires the youth “to render services, conventional and non-conventional military services, especially in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.”

The 102nd anniversary of ROTC will feature activities like sky diving, Scout Ranger tactics, Special Forces tactics, field artillery gun drill and Mechanized Infantry and Navy Special Warfare Group.

An awarding ceremony in honor of outstanding ROTC graduates will also be held on March 29.

Established in 1912, the once mandatory ROTC became optional following the death of UST student Mark Chua, who was killed for supposedly exposing the irregularities in his unit.

In 2002, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9163, which created the NSTP. The law made the ROTC just one of the three courses offered to college students.

Other NSTP components are the Civic Welfare Training Service, which promotes developmental programs and the Literacy Training Service, which allows students to serve as teachers of school children.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CAMP AGUINALDO CIVIC WELFARE TRAINING SERVICE LITERACY TRAINING SERVICE MARK CHUA MECHANIZED INFANTRY AND NAVY SPECIAL WARFARE GROUP METRO MANILA NATIONAL SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAM POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES ROTC
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