HomeNewsStudents in Catholic schools reject mandatory military training

Students in Catholic schools reject mandatory military training

An online survey has indicated that the majority of the students in Catholic schools are against the reimposition of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. 

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP conducted an online survey from April 3 to 24, involving students from member schools of the CEAP. 

The survey revealed that 53 percent of the respondents disagreed with the revival of mandatory ROTC, while 28 percent agreed and 19 percent were undecided.

Out of the 20,461 respondents, 30 percent, or 6,166 were college-age individuals, while the majority of the survey participants consisted of senior high school students. CEAP has more than 15,000 member schools across 17 regions.

Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) has commended CEAP’s survey, which the group said revealed the prevailing sentiment of the students. 

“Our lawmakers must heed the signs of the times — that more students disagree with the reimposition of mandatory ROTC. Cognizant of ROTC’s record of abuses, students are aware of their cruel fate once ROTC becomes mandatory again, said Kej Andres, national spokesperson of the SCMP.

The ROTC program has long faced criticism for incidents of physical, mental, and even sexual abuse. 

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One of the most notorious cases was that of Mark Welson Chua, a cadet from the University of Santo Tomas, who was found dead in the Pasig River after attempting to expose corruption within the ROTC program.

Andres said CEAP’s survey shows the “fears and anxieties” caused by the mandatory ROTC among students. “It is clear that with the survey, Catholic values that respect the right to life and right to free will are reflected,” he said. 

The Marcos administration, Vice President Sara Duterte, and other government officials have been pushing for the reimposition of student military training. 

“With the growing opposition to Mandatory ROTC, the youth, as said in Paul’s letter to Timothy, must ‘set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity’,” said Andres. 

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