Students, teachers and parents have started an online petition on the Change.org website to block a bill “repackaging” the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Course and expanding its coverage to include senior high school students.
“We slam the deceptive move of renaming ROTC into the Citizen Service Act. The ‘new’ program requires military training of students under the supervision of state forces and, thus, is still ROTC in essence,” read the online petition.
“The subject, which only proved to be an added burden and became a breeding ground for abuse and corruption, should no longer be resurrected. As such, we resolutely call for the scrapping of all proposed legislation and other measures that seek to rehabilitate mandatory ROTC in the education curriculum.”
Earlier, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said the substitute bill on the ROTC will also result in additional financial burden for Filipino families.
“This so-called ‘Citizen Service’ is nothing but the old ROTC in a new packaging,” she said.
She said the CSA via Basic Citizen Service Training Course (Basic CSTC) and Preparatory Citizen Service Training Course (Preparatory CSTC) in Grades 11 and 12 in public and private tertiary schools and senior high schools, respectively will surely require more expenses attendant to military training.
“The CSTC will cost additional expenses to parents and students. For example, families will have to spend at least P2,000 or P3,000 for the full Type A fatigue uniform per each cadet which includes the coat, pants, garrison belt, cap, and outside belt (P1,000 to P1,300), combat boots (P500 to P600), lanyard (P100), patches (P200), custom-made nameplate, shoulder blades, and even the appropriate haircut (P50 as cheapest) for men or hairpins and hairnet for women, to name a few. This doesn’t yet include the other type of uniforms and more expensive items like the sword or saber,” Castro added.
Under the proposed substitute bill, according to Castro, the CSTC will be administered for at least four semesters over two school years.
The bill also requires the completion of Summer Citizen Service Training Camp (Summer CSTC) which shall consist of 30 days in two tranches of 15 days a year.
“The length of mandatory training, uniform and activities will lead to additional expenses and burdens to the students and parents,” Castro said.