I had an epiphany today. I found out that ROTC (a.k.a. Citizen’s Military Training or CMT or Citizen’s Army Training or CAT) hasn’t been mandatory in Philippine schools since 2001. And so I thought, holy shit, that explains a lot about the quality of Filipino “millennials” today!
I realise now that mixed into the cocktail of 21st Century circumstances that is slowly (if not already) turning the Filipino youth into a bunch of pussies is a lack of the basic military training our generation took for granted. The strongest nations in the world were built on the back of citizen militias and military reservists. In countries like South Korea and Singapore, full military service over a certain period is mandatory for all males.
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In his seminal book From Third World to First World the late Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew cited the importance of a citizenry fully engaged in efforts to keep their country in fighting form and ready for war…
We had to re-orientate people’s minds to accept the need for a people’s army and overcome their traditional dislike for soldiering. . . we set up a national cadet corps and national police cadet corps in all secondary schools so that parents would identify the army and police with their sons and daughters. Only if we changed people’s thinking and attitudes could we raise a large citizen army like Switzerland or Israel.
Recent developments have shown that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is making good on his campaign promise to reinstate mandatory military training in Philippine schools.
Not surprisingly, the country’s hipsters are up in arms over this prospect. “Mandatory ROTC? How about no?” shrieks Rappler writer Marjohara Tucay. Tucay argues…
What the framers of the Constitution envision is not only an army of young reservists, but a generation of youth ready to battle against society’s ills, including poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and to a higher level, foreign domination in our country’s economic affairs.
What we need is a better path for the socio-civic involvement of the youth, a path that is congruent to the challenges of the changing times.
That path simply does not lead to ROTC. For how can a program that the AFP once used to install “student intelligence networks” meant to infiltrate and spy on student organizations and advocacy groups lead to active socio-civic engagement of the youth? How can a program that still cannot rid itself of its violent past post as a solution to apathy?
Ok na sana except that Tucay reverts to that shrill tabloideque fear mongering over imagined military conspiracies that supposedly come with the re-imposition of citizen’s military training Duterte proposes. Perhaps such fears are warranted. But there is, suffice to say, something to be said about how people like Tucay are so paralysed by such unfounded fears at such a young age. You’d expect a bit more from the youth — like a willingness to try stuff, experiment, and test limits.
So, yeah. Pussies.
We can’t expect the Philippines to become a great country if courage is in abject absence amongst the sector of society where one would reasonably expect it to exist by the bucket loads. The youth.
Something about this “youth” was lost when they started to refer to themselves as “millennials” it seems.
According to Tucay, there are other paths to explore other than military training. Most of those paths however will have to contend with the 21st Century Condition — kiddie boys and girls addicted to social media and Starbucks lattes who can’t survive a minute without having a selfie break. Nothing like big men in boots kicking their soft rear-ends to cure that condition.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.