At the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Old Guard fought as disciplined as they were trained, dying to the last man as they were surrounded and bombarded by the Duke of Wellington’s artillery. Here, the First Regiment of Grenadiers of the Guard makes their last stand. (Photo credits: Pinterest)
You must not fear death, my lads; defy him, and you drive him into the enemy’s ranks. He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat. Men take only their needs into consideration – never their abilities.
— Napoleon Bonaparte
MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA — During my college days at the Philippine College of Criminology (PCCr) on Sales Street in downtown Santa Cruz in Manila, early Sunday mornings were scheduled for ROTC or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, which was a requirement to pass or graduate from a college education.
I diligently attended the program and since I had been an officer in the Civilian Military Training (CMT) during my high school years in San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila, I was detailed to lead and train the girls in their Women’s Auxiliary Training Corps (WATC) program, which made the task handed to me easier and more amusing than what my other colleagues were doing—marching around the open field at the University of the Philippines parade grounds in Diliman, Quezon City.
I survived the hardships of being scorched by the morning Sunday until noonday and I expected relatively fair grades for the endeavor. But lo and behold! It was not so because of the corrupt system where the military officer who was assigned to train us had his way of recording absences and you had to pay for each to pass your ROTC.
With this in view, it cannot simply be avoided if it would be beneficial for us that the plan of our new vice president and incoming education secretary ‘Inday’ Sara Duterte-Carpio to reintroduce compulsory military program for our youth materializes.
Actually, a Catholic youth group is opposed to the proposal and is urging the firebrand daughter of outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte not to push ahead with this campaign pledge of reinstituting military training for young Filipinos.
Duterte-Carpio has been sworn in as the country’s 15th vice president and it appears she is intent on fulfilling her election campaign promises to the letter.
Prior to the general polls last May, the former Davao City mayor, and presidential daughter disclosed that she would be reviving mandatory military service to “instill nationalism” among our youth if she was fortunately elected and given a mandate as the second-highest official of the land.
So ‘Inday’ Sara is expected to make all Filipino youths undertake the ROTC program when she becomes education secretary under the administration of former senator and now president-in-waiting Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.
I for one favored the decision of then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to have the program abolished, following complaints and reports of several hazing deaths which sparked public outcry against ROTC.
According to the Knights of the Altar of San Vicente Ferrer Parish in Cavite, “(they) hope that the new vice president, acting as the new education secretary, would really conduct a serious study before bringing back the required military program for our youth.”
In truth, “what the ROTC offers is very limited if the goal is to develop patriotism among young Filipinos,” the religious group pointed out.
And so I go back to what I have stated and queried in a previous edition of my column, which is the fact that we can actually love our country if we first know about its true history and culture apart from what we have been taught and read (learned, too) from our Spanish and American-inspired history books.
Moreover, we should also be aware of the “cries of the poor” instead of ignoring them.
The altar servers advised ‘Inday’ Sara to focus more on working with church groups if her aim was to develop young people’s patriotism because her proposal of reintroducing compulsory service is simply not in tune with today’s modern society and trends.
There are, incidentally, newer methods of teaching nationalism, which include volunteerism and exposure to church mission areas where one comes face to face with the realities of poverty—to smell it and experience how it is to be with the poor and marginalized sectors of our society.
It has been said that schools and learning institutions should be fighting disinformation that is being perpetuated on social media and there is no room for a military program that would instill ‘false’ fear and discipline among students and the youth.
And has our incoming VP forgotten that her father admitted he had once sought to be exempt from the military program when he was in his youth?
This is proof that military training may have nothing to do with instilling patriotism and love for the country—especially since even without ROTC, Duterte-Carpio’s father had learned discipline and loyalty to the Motherland (on his own).
To give emphasis to this, Knights of the Altar member Jess Francia noted that “even President Duterte himself admitted he did not want to do it, (so) the goal to instill nationalism through a military program among the young isn’t effective in this social media age.”
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