Friday, August 5, 2016

An Ideal ROTC Program

ROTC programs are offered to the citizens of a signified nation wherein one subjects to training or serving the armed forces in a given time period as per variations in jurisdiction. However, discussions regarding this matter arose across social media sites where it is made mandatory upon the ground that one believes it instills discipline and patriotism.

Marching cadets. Source: ARESCOM, Philippine Army website.
Joining ROTC or its equivalent like CMT is a certified guarantee for a citizen of a specified nation to join a part of the reserve force where in case of conflict or humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HADR), such force will serve as an additional reinforcements wherein the whole armed forces can do out of its mandate.

Speaking of which, there are nations like South Korea, Israel, Switzerland and even Singapore where joining to the military is deemed mandatory wherein such nations can cope up with their necessity security and defense needs. In the case of South Korea, it is in preparation against their adversaries from the North with their leaders from Pyongyang. Israel meanwhile, needs to defend itself against its predominantly Arabic neighbors whose hatred of Israel is deemed that huge, not to mention political strife across the region. Switzerland's case is to have an effective neutrality where they are unscathed on both two world wars, and that means being armed for deterrence. And Singapore's small area as a nation is badly needed of military manpower. That in that case make sense.

In the Philippines, there is this on-going issue whether ROTC program should be gone back to mandatory, just like the old days, or the voluntary one in the way it is today wherein they entice people to join their program and making the experience much effective than their NSTP-CWTS and NSTP-LTS counterparts.

Now the question lies here -- What makes of an ideal ROTC program, a mandatory one? Or a voluntary one?

Screenshot from the PDA page. Link for the site here.
Before anything else, let us check the news articles as per making of this blog post. Right now, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the newly-elected leader of the country, said in his State of the Nation Address speech that ROTC will be revised to be applied as mandatory to all boys and girls taking college to take the program, abolishing NSTP programs altogether.

In that case, upon first impression from a patriot who idolized a leader like Duterte, decisions such as these are a big welcome for this nation basing on the two things that what perceives as a progress for the nation, naming discipline and patriotism. As far as these things are concerned, one will really get surprised that most of the very-experienced people who joined ROTC, even the ones who serve as regulars in the armed forces, really do reject the idea of a mandatory ROTC. Why?

Before proceeding, let us check the statistics made on the site where a poll made by the Philstar sees the percentage of those who favor or not.

The statistic results.
Based on the results given above, it is given that many people really wanted to have the revival of mandatory ROTC. Why?

The answer: It is because that modern Philippine society, on the perceptions made by the people across the social media, is now feminine in nature where a typical youth spends time on telenovelas, endless love-related issues like love triangles and mistresses, and most of all, online memes that have little or no factual basis to get backed up. One can say that NSTP programs, ROTC included, are just mere minor subjects that are irrelevant to the courses a teenager can imagine.

There is some truthful things in such a thing about these minor subjects that spark hatred among students where it will go on for the rest of their lives. That alone, is one of the very reasons among people who have experience of such the program and also those in the regular force that a mandatory ROTC is not favorable in this society.

Now, some people will asked: If Israel, South Korea, Switzerland and Singapore made it, what more if we apply the same here, in this country? Honestly speaking, as stated at the very start of this article that each nation has its own variation that satisfy its own security and defense needs. One cannot just apply the same here in this nation considering the different spectrum of national integrity across nations. And that includes the never-ending insurgency that keeps on plaguing the nation as it strives for peace. Imagine this: Mandatory ROTC includes training on how to handle guns, map-reading, and etc. What if these people eventually gets recruited by a rebel group? It is like the military trains its cadets, including potential enemies of the state, in which by the time comes, a military strategy can be used against it. That alone, is already a national security threat.

This is not only the reason why it is not ideal to have it mandatory. Another reason that can make up from this is that military instructors, by the mere fact that they know that they have unlimited recruits since it is made mandatory, will have the training haphazardly done, or worse, applying their own will to the people, which include far, nasty things. Speaking of which, some people who favor of mandatory ROTC suggest that there will be reservations that there will be no corruption, hazing issues, lesser boring marches and more active lectures plus actual training activities like disassembly/assembly of rifles and pistols, knowing map coordinates, firing in a shooting range, tactical maneuvers and more training necessary for a reservist.

Not only that. Since the proposals do include women in the ROTC, it is suggested that women are a welcome additive to the corps. However, having them also doing mandatory roles in the ROTC program is somewhat not good in this case considering that the reservist program are usually done by males who really wanted to be part of the reserve force in which they'll be sent out in times of war. This not a case hampering to the program itself, but rather hampering the women's role in the society as mere supporters in the effort of having a patriotic nation in a sense that they can do that in a way where they don't really need ROTC in their lives. After all, reservist programs are meant for men with sheer bravery to die for the country.

For a voluntary ROTC and mandatory ROTC, there are pros and cons that needs to be considered.

Voluntary ROTC

- Quality over Quantity
- More volunteers willing to fight
- Instructors keen to make ROTC experience interesting
-  More actual training and tactical activities
- Firing, disassembly and assembly of weapons, and touring.

- Reliable to the reservist corps
- Credible enough for the regulars to honor.

- Lesser numbers when in conflict
- Lesser manpower in HADR operations
- More time to convince people to join ROTC
- Strained incidents in the past hampered the image of ROTC
- The youth of today have little or no interest joining ROTC.

Mandatory ROTC

- More personnel in the reservist corps
- HADR operations are much easier to handle
- More youths instilling patriotism and discipline
- Reinforcements are guaranteed in times of war.
- A better, crowded and excellent parade and reviews
- Military assignments are easily done in numbers.

- Not guaranteed courage in times of war.
- Shortage of weapons of supplies that can cope with the reservists.
- Lesser training due to confidence by instructors, more marching.
- Disappointing cadets will take the shortcomings as worst experience ever.
- Possible grounds to corruption, hazing, bullying and other unnecessary incidents.
- Women will tend to faint in the event of harsh activities, especially if not prepared.


An ideal ROTC program can come in two, effective ways. One is the voluntary form of it wherein interested people are in with the sense of willingness to fight for the country, boys and girls alike. Another being mandatory with given reservations wherein proper training must be made, women's entry is voluntary, tactical activities and weapon's know-how a necessity, and most of all, lesser corruption, hazing, and other unintended incidents. Both of which will somehow instill discipline and patriotism to the cadets and cadettes of the said organization. However, discipline does best upon birth and with guidance from the parents, and patriotism can be done in many ways without the ROTC program. What matters most is this: Each citizen have his or her own share for the development of this country, in prosperity and in security. No matter how big or small it is, it's deemed helpful for the great nation to improve as well as its inhabitants to live better.


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