Did You Know?
AZT and Children
"ASEAN welfare ministers pledge to champion children's rights" --who will be left out in the cold for target practice this time? hint: http://www.akha.org
The ministers committed to "ensure the protection of children from HIV/AIDS and drug abuse" by instituting programs and strategies to halt the spread of the fatal Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and care for its victims." --translates to claim to save in order to kill by forcing babies to take AZT, which blocks DNA formation, which blocks new cell formation, which causes immediate symptoms of red skin peeling off in slabs and lack of weight gain, and eventually death. This is corporate welfare to pay for pharmacorp propaganda and Malthusian and eugenic genocide via AZT.
ROTC's impact on the student youth in general spreads macho and fascist thinking among the youth.
The ROTC program officials claim that it aims to foster nationalism among the youth. But what "love of country" is developed, when the cadets are taught to spy on fellow students, particularly those active in such issues as tuition fee increases? They are also trained to do as they are told, to accept whatever transpires before their eyes, without asking questions. As a favorite motto among ROTC officers goes: "What you see, what you hear, when you go, leave it here." Cadets who raise criticisms can expect the worst type of treatment.
According to the Cordillera Indigenous Peoples Law Center or Dinteg, the ROTC is a major conduit of Oplan Makabayan - AFP's and PNP's current counter-insurgency program.
Another supposed ROTC aim is to teach discipline among the youth. But what kind of "discipline" will be instilled when it is imposed through arbitrary physical punishments and relentless barks of "Goddammit?" The kind of military discipline instilled by the ROTC is one based on blind and passive obedience.
Cases of hazing inside the ROTC are common knowledge. · Seth Lopez of De La Salle University died while undergoing ROTC's "rigorous training." · Arthur Salero, a freshman student of Saint Louis University (SLU) and a member of the SLU ROTC Officers Corps, died in December 1999 under similar circumstances. · Also two years ago, three students of the Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF) were involved in a hazing case that victimized an ROTC cadet, and were not admitted into the school as a result. · In August 2000, eight BCF students who were COCC trainees complained against two ROTC officers, who allegedly manhandled them inside the BCF-ROTC office. The school administration dismissed their complaint - purportedly because the ROTC was an "independent body" with its own military procedures that are outside BCF jurisdiction. · Lorna Lorenza, another female trainee of the BCF ROTC, was hit in the stomach with a rifle butt by Cadet 1st Class Daniel Fakat. This resulted in a serious injury, especially since Lorenza was then having her menstrual period. · Last year, six officials of Vanguard (the fraternity of cadet officers) were expelled from UP Baguio because of their involvement in hazing. · Most recently, the brutal murder of Mark Welson Chua, a UST ROTC cadet.
Many more cases do not reach the mass media or the police blotters, mostly because the victims keep silent for fear of, or due to actual, intimidation.
Within the ROTC, and often with officers as main promoters, women and homosexual cadets are victims of vicious discrimination. Gay cadets, in particular, suffer the brunt of constant ridicule.
The corruption within ROTC has become so pervasive, such that nine Manila universities forming the so-called "University Belt Consortium" recently issued a full-page ad protesting, among other anomalies in the ROTC, the "collection of unauthorized fees, bribery and extortion."
The ROTC program also runs counter to academic freedom and the related freedom of expression and right of students to organize. The ROTC, by serving as the state's training and recruiting ground of informers, bullies and other campus fascists, in effect promotes fascism, militarism and repression inside the campus. To the extent that many of its cadet officers later become AFP integree officers or civilian government officials, they aggravate fascism, militarism and repression in Philippine society at large. We only have to remember that General Fabian Ver, Marcos' most notorious fascist henchman, was a product of this very system.
Abolish the ROTC - but what are the alternatives?
The progressive and militant movement of youth and students stands firm in its demand to abolish the ROTC. There is no other acceptable option but to excise this malignant growth from the body of our educational system. The student youth movement calls for a deep-going review of all pertinent laws, and for a thorough investigation of all human rights and corruption cases within the ROTC program.
Several legislators have joined hands with the student youth movement in pushing for the abolition of ROTC via the legislative process, and they have launched the "1 million signature campaign." But militant ROTC abolitionists are prepared to go outside and beyond the parliamentary arena, vowing to continue with their boycotts, walkouts, and street rallies until the government acts on their demands.
Under the current "expanded ROTC program," students do enjoy other options that are still covered by the ROTC mandate. Other proposals would make the ROTC program itself optional, that is, become voluntary instead of mandatory, and have schools offer alternative service-oriented courses. At any rate, the main question remains: if the options or alternative courses remain under military administration, it would just be "same old dog, new collar."
Still other proposals would make the ROTC mandatory only in state colleges and universities (SCU's), based on the argument that SCU's are government-subsidized and so must perform some role regarding military service. But this is merely skirting the real issues that have hounded the ROTC. In the first place, subsidies to SCU's must be seen as a non-negotiable government responsibility and thus should not be linked to the maintenance of the ROTC program.
DECS Secretary Raul Roco's proposal - to extend the ROTC program to the out-of-school youth (OSY) - imparts an ironic twist. If students (who at least can afford to pay tuition fees) are already hurting from the additional costs of ROTC, then it would be nonsensical to expect OSY (who are out of school precisely because they lack the money) to join the same costly and time-consuming program. Unless, of course, Roco's proposal has the unspoken promise that after ROTC training, the OSY trainees could expect "Cash Allowances, Free Guns and Uniforms" as AFP reserve forces. Exactly like the CAFGU, down to the acronym.
The progressive and militant student youth movement has offered various alternatives to the ROTC, which are more attuned to the real needs of the youth and of society at large.
One is to include such service-oriented subjects in the proposal to revitalize the General Education Program, which can by itself provide all the necessary educational and training needs of the students to prepare them for service to their country.
Still more productive would be the implementation of courses relating to community services, disaster preparedness, medical emergency training and the like - on the crucial condition that these should not be administered by the military.
Students can train and study best in an atmosphere devoid of fear, intimidation, physical abuse, and corruption - the very factors that are apparently embedded in the ROTC. Furthermore, students should not become beholden to the military. Instead, they must recognize and exercise their social responsibility to the overwhelming majority of our people, to the broad sectors of society who truly need their services.
# via Northern Dispatch End of Northern Dispatch, Vol. 13 No. 18, August 8, 2001 ------------------------------------------------------------
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