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Pangilinan: Programa para sa murang pagkain, hindi mandatory military training

PHILIPPINES, January 31 - Press Release January 30, 2022

Pangilinan: Programa para sa murang pagkain, hindi mandatory military training

SENATOR Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said that instead of imposing mandatory military training via the Reserved Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) to the youth, the government should focus on strengthening programs that will address food security and hunger.

In his DZMM's 'On the Spot' vice-presidential interview, Pangilinan maintained his opposition on the proposal to reimpose mandatory military training to college students, saying this is not the way to instill nationalism among the new generation.

"Tutol tayo diyan. Kung mayroon sanang boluntaryo eh dapat sa atin ay iyong food security imbes na itong military service. Mas mainam na alalayan natin ang mga sektor na mag-aaddress sa gutom at food security ng bansa," Pangilinan said.

"Palakasin natin ang mga programa na mayroong kinalaman sa pagkain, sa gutom. Palagay ko iyon ang mas magandang tutukan," he added.

The lawmaker likewise said that should the ROTC be reimposed; this might result in a repeat of what happened in the past as the program "became a source of rampant corruption and abuses."

He cited the case of University of Santo Tomas (UST) student Mark Welson Chua who was allegedly killed by his ROTC handlers after exposing the corruption within the ROTC corps 21 years ago, in March 2001.

After Chua's death, ROTC got scrapped as a result of the passage of Republic Act 9163, which created the National Service Training Program (NSTP), replacing the abusive ROTC.

"Yung isang kadete na si Lt. Chua pinatay yan dahil nag-expose siya ng kurakot at matindi ang corruption [sa ROTC] kaya nga na-abolish yan at ginawang voluntary," Pangilinan said.

"Maraming paraan upang ma-instill ang nationalism and discipline sa ating mga kabataan. Hindi sagot ang ROTC dahil mayroon na tayong sandatahang lakas na ang function ay ipaglaban ang ating bansa at napakataas ng budget nila for that," he said.

"Sa ngayon, ang dapat pagtuunan natin ng pansin ay kung paano mabibigyang solusyon ang malawak na gutom. Tiyak akong makakatulong dito ang ating mga kabataan at kailangan natin silang turuan kung gaano kahalaga ang agrikultura. Hindi iyan na military service na yan," Pangilinan added.