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Shape up or ship out, you lousy cadet!

Cong Corrales .

UNWITTINGLY, the shiny new senator drove the student leader’s point on why reviving the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is not a good thing at what has become one of the most “memed” Senate hearings now.

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa threw a hissy fit — with pointing fingers, flaring nostrils, and all — at National Union of Students of the Philippines chairman Raoul Manuel at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture last week.

As one dear friend pointed out: “If he had another brain, it would be lonely.”

Manuel, who was invited as a resource speaker on the ROTC bill, pointed out that asserting human rights is made more difficult having lawmakers who are willing to give heinous crime offenders like a convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez a “second chance.”

“Siguro if mahirapan tayo na mai-uphold yung ganito rights awareness, magkakatalo na lang kung among the ranks of our public officials ay hindi po nana-agree doon lalo na if we have a senator who will say na okay lang na makalaya at may second chance yung isang rapist na mayor habang yung mahihirap ay madaling tokhangin na lamang,” Manuel said.

Instead of debunking Manuel’s claim, Bato suddenly flared up and harangued an invited guest at the Senate hearing. This, even as he red-tagged Manuel and NUSP on live television.

“I take offense on what you said na yung ROTC is a misrepresentation of nationalism. Anong tingin mo samin? Ganun ka lang mag-judge sa ’min? Jinu-judge mo kami na ganun? Are you sure you are the true representation of the Filipino students? Iilan lang yang makakaliwa dyan sa estudyante. Mas marami dyan gusto mag-ROTC, I must tell you frankly,” Bato, nose flaring and finger pointing, yelled.

How can a senator with a supposed doctorate degree, to boot, be so moronic? Manuel was talking about human rights and how these can easily be abused under mandatory military training.

“We would not witness an onion-skinned Bato dela Rosa today without the collective rage of the Filipino people over the current state of our nation. The challenge now is to come together to create meaningful change!” Manuel said on his Facebook page.

However, I was not surprised by Bato’s hissy fit. He has been around people who bark back “Sir, yes, sir” for the longest time that when confronted with a critical thinking student leader, he mistakes him as a product of “brainwashing.”

Bato and his ilk, even his overlord, have been carpet-bombing red herrings whenever they are made to account for the extrajudicial killings, repression, and violation of human rights in the country.

Merriam Webster defines a red herring as something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion.

My understanding of Manuel’s point is that the former mayor of Calauan and the policemen who abducted Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez might have undergone ROTC during their college days. That reviving it is not such a good idea, especially now that this administration is increasingly getting more tyrannical in each year it has been in power.

If Bato doesn’t see something wrong with the proverbial rule in the military of “obey first before complaining,” then his view on rights to expression and dissent is as skewed as can be.

Besides, mandatory ROTC does not teach students patriotism. It teaches them jingoism, chauvinism, and xenophobia. Also, I do not find consistency here. Our generals have been harping against New People’s Army recruiting “child soldiers.” How is mandatory ROTC in Senior High being any different? Is the administration saying that prepping 17-year-old students for war is not wrong because it is state-sanctioned?

So, here is my unrequited advice to the senator with what ROTC taught me: Shape up or ship out, you lousy cadet, gardemet!


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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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