Senator Imee Marcos has thumbed down proposals to make the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for senior high school students even if her father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, made a similar order in the 1960s.
In an interview over dzBB radio Sunday (August 25), Marcos recalled that her father had a change of heart about mandatory ROTC in the 1980s.
“By 1980, nakita niya ‘di nagwo-work kasi ‘di mo mapipilit. So ginawa na lang niyang tatlo ang option. Ginawa na lang niyang national service dahil ‘di mo naman mapipilit ang batang maging sundalo,” she said.
Marcos said her father realized that love of country can’t be taught through ROTC.
“‘Di mo naman pwedeng iutos ang pagmamahal sa bansa. Kailangang ituro mo mula sa maliit hanggang sa paglaki Kung gusto maging sundalo bakit hindi?” she said.
The elder Marcos issued Executive Order No. 59 on February 8, 1967 making ROTC mandatory in all colleges and universities where 250 or more male students are enrolled.
On August 8, 1980, however, the late dictator issued Presidential Decree No. 1706, otherwise known as the “National Service Law”, on 8 August 1980.
The law made national service mandatory for all Filipinos but specified three categories in which they can serve the country: civic welfare service, law enforcement service and military service.
For Marcos, ROTC should be an option only for students who are 18 years of age or older.
“Para sa akin optional na lang kasi hindi naman pagiging sundalo lamang ang katibayan na mahal mo ang bansa. pwede ka naman maging nurse, malaking bagay yun,” she said.