LGBTQIA organization Bahaghari slammed Sen. Bato dela Rosa, who claimed that mandatory ROTC will instill “gender equality” among the youth. With the hearings for the mandatory ROTC (MROTC) bill instituting the military program as a requirement for students regardless of legal sex ensues, Bahaghari proposed simple alternatives to the hotly contested MROTC bill.
“Senator Bato, pursuing gender equality means all of us, regardless gender, are uplifted and cherished. It does not mean all of us, regardless of gender, are thrown into militarism and abuse,” said Reyna Valmores, Bahaghari’s chairperson.
According to Bahaghari, the “gender equality” in Sen. dela Rosa’s mandatory ROTC bill is simply men and women being exposed in equal measure to the misogynistic and macho-militarist culture within the ROTC program.
“Lest we forget our history, there is no such thing as ‘gender equality’ in ROTC. Over the years, the data collected in schools nationwide has surfaced numerous cases of sexism, harassment, rape jokes, hazing, sexual abuse, and other harmful, backward, and downright exploitative practices against women and the LGBTQIA community under ROTC,” said Valmores.
For Bahaghari, if dela Rosa wants gender equality to be an ideal among the youth, “the first step is not militarization, but education on gender and sexuality as well as human rights. If he wants patriotism to be an ideal among the youth, let us strengthen our education on the Filipino language, culture, and history. Teach children about the centuries and generations of Filipinos—men and women, straight and queer alike—standing up for sovereignty and refusing to be playthings to people in power,” concluded Valmores.