My blood baro-metrics rose after I read the headlines in my Rappler feed last Wednesday morning:

Retired generals want ROTC back in colleges


"(More than) 10 years after the abolition of the ROTC as mandatory program, there is now a growing sentiment that the national defense preparedness of our nation has not been served well since the alternative programs in the National Service Training Program are deemed insufficient to inculcate the values of discipline and patriotism required of every citizen and do not address the military training ideally required of every citizen," AGFO said. -GMA News

I would react to this in points:

Point #1: Patriotism and Discipline = Military Service???
I don't understand why these Generals (well former Generals) always equate Patriotism and Discipline with Military Training. Well in a sense it is true but we can all agree that Military training is not the only way to develop patriotism and discipline. A prime example is our Pambansang Kamao, a Filipino Athlete. Athletics is yet another venue to develop patriotism and discpline. The discipline required for training to become an athlete and the glory of representing your country to international games are the same output as military training in terms of discipline and patriotism.

If the military is really a training ground for patriotism and discipline, why is the military plagued with corruption and abuse of power? Isn't that the reason why the Magdalo group staged a coup d'tat? Let's not forget the pabaon system for the retiring AFP Chief of staff which was exposed by George Rabusa, former budget officer. AFP Comptrollers General Jacinto Ligot and General Carlos Garcia were primary accused. These GENERALS are the high ranking officials of the Armed Forces, yet there were no qualms in misusing taxpayers money. Where in this case in patriotism and discipline? Also, let's not forget about former AFP Chief Angelo Reyes who committed suicide because he is compelled to testify on the matter. I know it is wrong to bad mouth a dead person, but if REAL PATRIOTISM was instilled in this FORMER HIGHEST RANKING MILITARY OFFICIAL, he should have faced the Inquiry and spilled the beans! Even after his death he still owes us, his countrymen, the truth behind this corruption!

Let us now consider the recent headline that I read in my newsfeed. A certain General is allegedly abusing his authority by commanding troops under him to construct his personal home and is using provisions for military gas for his personal use. Where's the discipline in that?

Military service = Patriotism and Discipline? Bleh!

Point #2: Key phrase, the military training ideally required of every citizen
First, let as attack the phrase this way. If military training is a must for "every citizen" why is it that ROTC is only mandatory for the Male youth? It should mandatory to all and not just the male youth. But similarly, this military training for every citizen is already encompassed in the high school subject, Citizen's Army Training (CAT). Even the name of the subject itself summarizes what the AGFO wants. It's an Army Training for every citizen that is integrated in the Secondary Education Curriculum.

In my personal experience, CAT is nothing but a nuisance. I had to wake up early on a Saturday and go to school. There for half a day, we will be just be shouted by our batchmates who endured the same shouting the year before. We were commanded to look to left, the right, and march like there's no tomorrow. Then we are forced to shoulder punishments for the offenses did by other members of our platoon. We were screamed to squat, do push ups, jumping jacks, and pumpings. As part credit for CAT, we were required to attend a Say No to Drugs campaign. Honestly, I don't know what we did, we just simply marched around the Tondo neighborhood with streamers and slogans. Now, is that MILITARY TRAINING? HELL NO!!! Take note! CAT is also handled by Military officers!

Although I have doubts in the effectiveness of CAT for the required military training for every citizen, it still addresses the fact that there is already an existing COMPULSORY Army training that every citizen must take. Why add another?

Point #3: NSTP insufficent?
The National Service Training Program is promulgated by Republic Act 9163 which was catalyzed to enactment by the death of one, Mark Welson Chua. Of course the NSTP does not fully address the military training that they want. It was designed to give the students a choice to take ROTC or not. The law requires students male or female to render personal, military, or civil service for the country. It is therefore a service to the country regardless if its military in nature or not. It's PATRIOTISM in general not AGFO's crude definition of it.

Point #4: Nation Defense Preparedness
I can never contest the fact that every Filipino has the responsibility to defend our Motherland. But one can agree that there is greater responsibility for the soldiers whose main job is to defend our country and ensure peace and order. Why waste time on getting more reserve troops when you can just focus on strengthening and improving the skills of our Front line forces?

Although I didn't take ROTC during my college years, I feel as though the "Training" that the students received is not at par to be "national defense" ready. It's just like CAT; only, the students are in college. The same trash talk, the same shit of command hierarchy, and the same old boring march till you die under the ever so hot shining sun or the wet under the blanket of rain clouds. I don't have first hand experience on this, but just like everyone else, I was once a student. So taking into context that ROTC is just another subject, the students probably skip classes because its BORING. You stand in formation, get punished for an offense you didn't do, and talk to a douchebag officer who thinks his the king of the world since he's your superior. At the end of the day, students who took this "training" are non-combatants. One cannot expect them to contribute effectively in a war.

Forcing students to take the course and then concluding that every single one of the cadets are quality cadets is grave miscalculation. This is just quantity over quality. AGFO just wants more bodies to be considered cadets while not giving consideration on the quality of cadets the have. Stupidity at its finest.

Point #5: Mark Welson Chua
If you want one big reason why ROTC should not be made mandatory again, just think of Mark Welson Chua. He exposed the corruption hidden behind the ROTC program. He paid dearly for his courage and true sense of patriotism. His gruesome murder sparked the reform in that corrupt operation. For that I am very much grateful to him. Because of him, I enjoyed having the right to choose Literacy Training Service as my NSTP. His death will be in vain if the ROTC will once again be made mandatory. The cycle will just begin anew since the temptation of having too much power over a group of people is just so hard to resist.

I will never be in favor of having the ROTC mandatory again. My two nephews will be the ones affected by this. I want them to enjoy having the right to choose what type of service that they want to render for the country. IF they want to choose ROTC, then it's their own prerogative but at least I have a peace of mind that they are doing that in their own accord and it was not forced on them.