An alliance of student councils with members coming from various schools nationwide warned against the impact of mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), especially on the mental health of students.
“Mandatory ROTC will worsen the mental health crisis in schools,” said National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) National President Jandeil Roperos in a statement issued Sunday, Feb. 5.
Roperos also sounded the alarm on the “long-running mental health crisis” in schools noting that the implementation of mandatory ROTC will turn schools into “breeding grounds for military pawns is detrimental to the welfare of students.”
“It will further alienate and veer them away from the very essence of education—developing a sense of community where you can freely and healthily engage with others,” Roperos added.
Citing data from the Department of Education (DepEd), a total of 404 young students in various parts of the country took their own lives and 2,147 others attempted suicide during Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022.
“Students are already bearing mentally-draining academic load the education system is already molding them into simple-minded automatons geared towards employment to jobs with meager wages,” Roperos said.
Roperos added that the situation of the Filipino youth is also “nothing short of depressing” --- thus, “adding mandatory ROTC into the equation will just add insult to injury.”
The Senate deliberation on the bill reviving mandatory ROTC in schools is scheduled on Feb. 6. However, Roperos lamented that NUSP has yet to receive an invitation to be part of the discussion.
Given this, NUSP called on the Filipino youth to not let the bill be passed into law. “When our voices fall into ‘deaf’ ears, let’s shout louder, together, and assert our spot in the Senate deliberations,” Roperos ended.