Mandatory ROTC or Mandatory Sports?

Why the country, for the past six years, has fallen in love with anything remotely linked to the police or military, that it is unable to use critical thinking is something Mark Zuckerberg will answer for in the afterlife (or in the US Congress, should the probes against Facebook and its mind-conditioning prosper).

I mean, take the latest move, for example, about making the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) training mandatory again.According to its proponent, it will promote discipline and patriotism. That we are at this stage because of guys who have undergone mandatory ROTC is lost to them.

ISN’T IT IRONIC. Some of the guys saying ROTC will promote patriotism are the same guys who have undergone ROTC but are now defending China’s conduct in the West Philippine Sea. They’d willfully break traffic laws too when no one’s looking.

Take for example China’s conduct in the West Philippine Sea. Who are defending them and attacking the Pinoys who criticize China? Guys who have undergone ROTC and who have clearly missed out on the patriotism part. Chaos on the road because of lack of discipline? Blame the guys who have undergone ROTC and who somehow missed out on the discipline part.

Sarcasm aside, no one I know of learned discipline or patriotism from ROTC. What we learned was that the rich and those who know which pockets to grease will always get a leg up or an exemption.

Sen. Win Gatchalian, who vowed to make the ROTC bill one of his priority bills, said Filipino parents want mandatory ROTC because they see their kids spending too much time on social media and they want their kids to be disciplined.

There is literally an app for that—for parents to control their kids’ time on social media—it’s called Family Link. I use it. Sen. Gatchalian could have also required social media companies to require Filipino users to be at least 18 before they could sign up.

But it’s easier, and more popular, to blame the kids for the failure of the parents, the same parents who’ve undergone mandatory ROTC. I’d bet my tennis elbow that these same parents who wail about their kids’ lack of discipline are the ones who break traffic laws, would go to a fixer or would ask a relative if he or she knows someone who can help them cut into the queue.

If it’s discipline, getting fit and patriotism that Sen. Gatchalian and his parent-defenders want, the best route for it is sports. ROTC cadets dread waking up at 5 a.m. to make the 6 a.m. Sunday formation but I tell you, all athletes look forward to a 6 a.m. practice.

In ROTC, you learn to perform only when the officers are watching. In sports, if you slack on your practice when the coach isn’t around, you’d get benched because your lack of progress would be made obvious.

And when was the last time the Filipino supporters of China’s conduct in the West Philippine Sea dared to go against China? Wasn’t it a Gilas game against China?

BETTER OPTION. Making it mandatory for senior students to join a sport may spur job creation and the putting up of more facilities for sports in the country.

Make ROTC mandatory? Or make it mandatory for a senior high student to be involved in a sport. But we don’t have enough coaches or facilities. Gee, making it mandatory might spur the government to hire more coaches (job creation) and put up facilities for sports, which could be open for use for non-students.

So parents who rant about their kids spending too much time with their cell phones and who want mandatory ROTC to promote discipline and patriotism can also be lured away from their cell phones and spend time with their kids on the field.

Mike T. Limpag
Mike T. Limpag

Mike T. Limpag has covered the Cebu sports scene for over 20 years, starting as an 18-year-old cub reporter for the Freeman in 1997 before moving to SunStar Cebu in 2001.

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