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Walden Bello Slams Plan of Sara Duterte to Implement “Mandatory ROTC”

Vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello slammed the plan of contender Sara Duterte to implement “mandatory ROTC” if she takes the position.

The two vice-presidential contenders for 2022 are now at odds over whether the Philippines should introduce “mandated military service” for 18-year-olds, as is done in other countries. Sara Duterte-Carpio, the mayor of Davao City, has stated that she will utilize her position to speak to congress and the senate about the issue.

“ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is not just a subject, a weekend or a month a year. It should all be when you turn 18 years old, you will be given a subsidy, you will be asked to serve our country there in our Armed Forces of the Philippines,” she said.

Walden Bello Sara Duterte

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Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, says this even though the president and not the vice president set priority legislation in Congress. Military duty in the Philippines is optional, although under Article II, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, it may be required by the government to protect the country as a soldier.

“We see it in other countries, in South Korea, in Israel we see it in them [mandatory military service],” Duterte-Carpio added.

Digong has long advocated for the reinstatement of mandatory ROTC, which was only made voluntary after UST student Mark Wilson Chua was slain in 2001 for exposing suspected corruption in the program. Walden Bello, a fellow vice presidential candidate, opposed Duterte-Carpio because of his father Digong’s brutal practices.

“Like father, like daughter. Duterte’s legacy was to arm people and tell them to kill. Now his daughter wants to do that to children as well,” Bello.

“Sara Duterte’s latest pronouncements about using the OVP to stand for mandatory military service is a mask off moment for the dictator-in-waiting, and should quell any doubt that the daughter will be any different from the father,” he added.

Digong is facing a slew of political and extrajudicial executions of drug suspects, which is causing enough for him to face the International Criminal Court. He said that it would be absurd if Inday Sara persisted in doing this to safeguard the nation from “foreign dangers,” despite the fact that Duterte had a horrible track record and was “submissive” to China and America.

“A Vice Presidential candidate who weren’t so stuck in a militaristic mindset would know that the biggest problem with the Armed Forces is not its lack of capability, but its corruption-cum-internal repression. When we assume the Vice Presidency, our office would advance social justice — agrarian reform, labor and human rights, and climate action — not subject children to unjust militarization, “he concluded.

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