Taytay, Rizal reso stresses freedom of choice, 'informed decision' on joining ROTC

Taytay, Rizal reso stresses freedom of choice, 'informed decision' on joining ROTC
This photo from the website of the Municipal Government of Taytay shows the municipal hall of the Rizal town.
Municipal Government of Taytay website

MANILA, Philippines — The Sangguniang Bayan of Taytay, Rizal has passed a resolution supporting the right to choose the form of national service and to informed decisions on joining the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, which bills in Congress seek to make mandatory.

Kabataan Partylist (KPL), among the few at the House of Representatives opposed to manadtory military training, lauded the passage of the resolution, calling it a landmark piece of legislation that was informed by grassroots consultations. Resolutions express the sense of a chamber but are not binding.

Resolution No. 199 was passed on third and final reading on Monday and stresses that "it is important to take into consideration the free will of students to take part in the ROTC program for its successful implementation."

Mandatory ROTC was scrapped after in 2001 in favor of the National Service Training Program, where military training is among the options.

The reform was prompted by the murder in 2001 of University of Santo Tomas cadet Mark Chua, who went missing after filing a formal complaint against corruption in the university's ROTC program.

There have been repeated attempts to revive mandatory military training and the measure was made a priority of the Duterte and Marcos Jr. administrations to instill discipline in the youth and to help with threats in the West Philippine Sea and from an ongoing communist insurgency.

The Sangguniang Bayan said that "while making nationalism and patriotism a topmost priority, we can also maximize the [NSTP] as an alternative program for the youth in nation-building."

In a statement on the passage of the resolution, Kabataan Partylist Executive Vice President Renee Louise Co commended the Sanggunian Kabataan federation president of Taytay as well as other members of the Sangguniang Bayan for adopting the resolution.

"We urge more LGUs to go beyond commissioned surveys, and conduct similar consultations to properly recognize the often marginalized and discriminated voice of our youth. Hopefully our senators will consider and stand with this resolution," she also said, referring to surveys suggesting strong public support for mandatory ROTC.

The crafting of the resolution presented to the Sangguniang Bayan was done by convening the Local Youth Development Council, holding school consultations and by working with youth organizations, including the Kabataan Partylist's Taytay chapter, the party-list said in the statement.

"We thank your youth public servants for upholding our freedom to choos how to serve the country," KPL-Taytay spokesperson Liam Josef Boses said in Filipino in the release.

"It is clear that being nationalistic cannot be forced, but should come from the youth's understanding and appreciation of our history, of human rights and of our duty as citizens."

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