A youth group called on the Senate to scrap the bill seeking the mandatory reserve officer training on International Women’s Day.
Enough Is Enough (EIE), a campus gender equality group, stated that the bill will only “fuel sexism and misogyny” instead of instilling discipline among students.
The proposed reinstatement of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program was among the priority bills of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In a statement, Kate Leonor of EIE said that this will only “fuel misogyny and sexism and will push back a [decade’s] worth of efforts to make learning institutions safe spaces.”
“Not unless, all of a sudden the culture within our armed forces alters and denounces fascism, militarism and patriarchy, the culture of sexism and fear which we are struggling to combat and defeat in our campuses will perpetually be embedded,” she added.
Leonor also expressed the group’s view on the country’s military forces who will contribute to implementing the proposed program in educational institutions.
“Even if our senators claim that the MROTC bill is guaranteed abuse-proof and has safeguard provisions, the militaristic and misogynistic tradition and mindset of the officers and rank and file of the armed forces will pollute institutions that should champion academic excellence and academic freedom,” she said.
Instead of ROTC, she urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) to address the rise of cases of harassment in schools.
“DepEd and CHED, should focus on actively purging our campuses of predators and enablers. The recent uptick in cases of abuse and harassment dwarf their efforts and highlights their lack of political will to truly address the issue,” Leonor said.
Members of EIE joined other progressive groups in a massive rally they staged in Mendiola in the City of Manila for this year’s IWD activities.
Led by the Gabriela Women’s Party, different organizations voiced out their protests and appeals to the country’s leaders during their movement.
These include wage increases, scrapping the ROTC bill, and the elimination of violence against women and children.
Hashtags #InternationalWomensDay and #IWD2023 also dominated topics on Twitter Philippines on March 8.