Lack of funding should not be the basis for evaluating mandatory ROTC | Inquirer Opinion

Lack of funding should not be the basis for evaluating mandatory ROTC

/ 05:01 AM May 11, 2023

I noticed that the issue of whether Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), mandatory or optional, is a good idea to be reintroduced in college, has generated disparate responses from concerned citizens. Some opinions, like those emanating from the Left, reflect a sense of anti-militarism. Others ask incredulously what the program is for under present circumstances and in light of changes in the character and requirements of national and international security.

But none deserves to be replied to than the view expressed by Edilberto C. de Jesus (“Who wants mandatory ROTC?” Business Matters, 5/4/23) who implicitly opposed mandatory ROTC because of budgetary constraints and what he referred to as the military’s assessment of “the country’s radically altered security environment.” I say that to reject a laudable initiative because of lack of funding is a classic example of our continuing adoption of misplaced priorities. The stark reality is there is less reason to oppose mandatory ROTC for lack of funds than it is to oppose providing billions of intelligence funds to government offices that have no intelligence function.

The so-called radically altered security environment in the country does not negate the need for a trained reserve citizen army. Even if our defense needs were to be anchored on technological advances, like artificial intelligence, robotics, and a “Star Wars” infrastructure, who will man these assets in the short and medium term? Accordingly, with due respect to the critics, reinstituting mandatory ROTC should be evaluated not on budgetary and other considerations but on whether it is useful and necessary for the defense of our country.


It is my view that mandatory ROTC is necessary and useful for us and our country as envisioned in the 1987 Constitution, which provides that to defend the state, the government may require citizens to render “military or civil service.” In another section of the Constitution, it states that the government should inculcate in the youth “patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.” How better to achieve these objectives than to give basic military training to our citizens to prepare them for the defense of the motherland.


To recall, the ROTC program in the 1950s was credited with some success. I personally benefited from the two years of ROTC that provided basic military training. ROTC did not appear burdensome or contentious to the school curriculum, like what some officials are proposing now to include same-sex marriage, transgenderism, and other unexamined subjects in school curricula. Indeed, there were abuses and corruption in later years. But what institution, including organized religion, is immaculate and clean? None. If this is a reason to oppose mandatory ROTC, I don’t know how many government offices without corruption and abuse will remain in operation.

Ancheta K. Tan,

[email protected]

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TAGS: fund, ROTC, Training

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