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Forced military training costly, adverse to critical thinking — students

YOUTH activists from the College Editors Guild of the Philippines stage a die-in protest at the Mendiola Peace Arch in Manila on Dec. 12 early morning to denounce the proposed mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in schools. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

STUDENT groups on Monday signed a unity statement against the proposed mandatory military training at the tertiary level, citing its adverse impact on critical thinking and the additional financial costs that it entails.   

“This is still a form of campus militarization. We know that this act of providing a new face to the mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is their tactic to restrict the youth,” said Lance Avery Alo, convenor of the recently organized No to Mandatory ROTC Network.  

La Salle for Human Rights and Democracy Spokesperson Mark Anthony Cachero said forced military training only cultivates a subservient youth.   

“Schools must be a space for critical thinking and not mere blind following,” he said in Filipino.  

Benhur Quequeggan of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines’ Central Student Council said the program will be costly for students and their parents, with the required miscellaneous fees, uniforms, equipment, transportation allowance.  

Another student group said mandating military training could pose serious effects on students’ academic performance.  

The League of Filipino Students (LFS) said military training could worsen the Philippines’ intelligence quotient (IQ) rating.   

“Military training will not teach us to think critically. In fact, it’s just the opposite: it trains you to accept commands without question. No critical thinking or IQ needed, just compliance,” LFS National Chairperson Ivan Sucgang said in a statement on Monday.  

A bill on the mandatory training was approved on Dec. 6 by the House committees on technical and higher education and basic education and culture. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz

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