#SONA2022 FACT CHECK: Revival of mandatory ROTC will train students for “national defense preparedness”

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CLAIM: President Marcos Jr.’s move for the revival of mandatory ROTC in Senior High School aims to train students for “national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations”
 
RATING:
Missing context
 
FACTS:
While President Marcos Jr. included the introduction of mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in senior high school in his administration’s list of priority bills, he did not mention why the military training program is no longer mandatory in the first place.
 
The death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua — who was allegedly killed by his ROTC advisers after he reportedly exposed fund mismanagement — in March 2001 catalyzed the passage of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act, which has made participation to the ROTC optional.
 
The move to introduce mandatory ROTC in senior high school, or for students aged 16-18 years old, is not new, as former President Rodrigo Duterte also urged Congress to prioritize passing a law to enable such back in 2018.
At that time, Child Rights Network (CRN), the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the Philippines, noted that the proposal will make the Philippines renege on past international commitments on the protection of children from compulsory recruitment into the armed forces.
 
WHY IT MATTERS:
As CRN noted, introducing a militarist course in senior high school, at a time when students are at the height of their adolescence period, may make children vulnerable to developing various risk behaviors sensitive to adverse and negative experiences that could impact them throughout their lifetime. – Dan Navarro
 
Altermidya Network is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph. 

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