By CBCP News

June 14, 2023

Manila, Philippines

Most Catholic school students are opposed to the proposed mandatory military training program, according to a new survey by an association of Catholic educational institutions.

Out of the 20,461 people polled in April, 53% disagreed with bringing back the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. Among them, 32% stated that they “strongly disagree” and 21% said they “disagree”.

Approximately 54% of those who disagreed argued that ROTC would impose an additional burden on the students, while 42% believed it would be an extra expense for their families.

Other reasons for opposing the proposal included concerns about violence and corruption (34%), conflicting with their religious beliefs (17%), and other factors such as hazing/bullying and threats to safety (6%).

Only 28% of respondents agreed with the revival of ROTC. Among them, 22% stated that they “agree” and only 6% said they “strongly agree”.

Among those in favor of ROTC, 68% expressed their desire to learn basic military training, physical exercise, disaster preparedness, and civic engagement.

Other reasons for agreeing with the program included the opportunity to learn patriotism and nationalism (46%), the provision of military uniforms as a form of compensation for students (45%), and the belief that it helps instill discipline (7%).

In contrast, approximately 19% of respondents stated that they were uncertain whether they agreed or disagreed with the measure, which would make the ROTC program mandatory for all students.

The survey, conducted by the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), aimed to gather the students’ “collective opinion” on the proposed policy and its potential impact on their education and future.

The majority of the respondents were senior high school students, accounting for 70%, while the remaining 30% were of college age.

The ROTC program was abolished in 2002 due to corruption and controversies surrounding it.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has urged Congress to reinstate the mandatory ROTC program in both public and private senior high schools.


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