Hontiveros questions poll on mandatory ROTC: Does it capture the sentiment of youth?
MANILA, Philippines — A Pulse Asia survey, which showed that nearly 8 in 10 Filipinos back the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program, prompted Sen. Risa Hontiveros to ask: Did it capture the sentiment of the youth?
The poll, commissioned by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, asked 1,200 Filipino adults – not necessarily students – the level of their agreement or disagreement to the proposal seeking to reimpose obligatory ROTC in college.
“Naka-capture ba ng survey ang sentiment ng kabataan mismo na ipapa-mandatory ROTC o ito ay iyong general population lamang?” Hontiveros asked in a statement on Wednesday.
(Does the survey capture the sentiment of the youth who will be subjected to mandatory ROTC or is it only from the general population?)
According to the office of Gatchalian, the Pulse Asia poll used a multi-stage probability sample of 1,200 adult respondents, with 300 each randomly drawn from Metro Manila, Balance Luzon (or areas in Luzon outside Metro Manila), Visayas, and Mindanao.
ROTC okay if not mandatory
Hontiveros clarified that she was not completely opposed to having ROTC, noting that it remains an option under the National Service Training Program (NSTP).
She, however, pointed out that making the program mandatory “limits the choices of our students to express their love of country.”
“Sa panahon ngayon, higit na kailangan ang mas malawak na programa para sa paglilingkod sa bayan hindi lamang [sa] usaping military, law enforcement, at disaster response,” Hontiveros said.
(In these times, there is a greater need for an expanded program to serve the country not just through military, law enforcement, and disaster response.)
This is aligned with the call of several youth groups seeking to expand the NSTP instead of reinstating compulsory ROTC.
Instead of prioritizing mandatory ROTC, Hontiveros underscored the need to bump up in the agenda of the government solutions to the economic and education crisis plaguing the country.
The bid to restore mandatory ROTC has been elevated to the Senate plenary, which opens the period of deliberations on the proposed measure.
But Hontiveros vowed to thoroughly scrutinize the proposed measure.
“Gaya ng ibang mahahalagang batas, patuloy nating bubusisiin ang panukalang pagbabalik ng ROTC, paglalatag ng mga isyu kaugnay sa implementasyon nito at pagsisigurado na may sapat na safeguards at protection ang mga kabataang dadaan sa programa,” she said.
(Like other important laws, we will continue to study the proposal to revive mandatory ROTC, lay down issues related to its implementation, and ensure that there are enough safeguards and protection for students who will undergo the program.)
The return of obligatory ROTC is backed by the two highest officials of the country – Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
During his first State of the Nation Address in July last year, Marcos urged Congress to reinstate the mandatory program for senior high school students.
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