Militarization is not the answer.
The passage of mandatory ROTC in the House of Representatives is a “nightmare before Christmas for Filipino students”, according to youth groups that stressed that “instead of passing policies to protect students’ welfare and rights, the National Citizens Service Training (NCST) bill is as valuable to students as a coal on a stocking.”
The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) and Akbayan! Youth condemned the passage of the bill seeking to compel college students to undergo a two-year mandatory military training in the Lower House, with the blessing of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who certified the bill as urgent.
“There are far more urgent things than the NCST,” the groups said. “A two-year military training course will not address the students’ declining mental health, alarming learning poverty, lack of classrooms and educational materials and cases of harassment and discriminations in schools.”
The added: “We reiterate that mandatory ROTC should not be the only means for young Filipinos to be trained to serve the country. The discussions, community immersions, and volunteer programs under the National Service Training Program (NSTP) should be improved and expanded instead as a tool to enhance the youth’s civic consciousness.”
They similarly urged for the education authorities and the Philippine government to, instead, “declare an education crisis now, and craft a national education program that will address the 12-point education agenda crafted and signed by hundreds of student councils, student organizations, youth organizations, and Sangguniang Kabataan Councils across the country.”