Few years ago, the Secretary of National Defense of the country decided to scrap the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) program in all the colleges and universities in the country due to a case of hazing that led to the death of a ROTC cadet. Personally, I think the decision was hasty and an easy way out to ease up the pressure from the media and public opinion. The government did not have the political will to stand up for the strategic advantages of having our youth to undergo a program that instills discipline, respect to authorities, and the love & passion to protect the country from its enemies, whether internal or external ones.
I gathered a lot of comments and observations from other runners why our neighboring countries have a lot of runners in their marathon races as compared to us. Singapore could easily fill up 50,000 runners for its annual SC Marathon Race. The same with Hongkong, Taipeh, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Tokyo and other key cities of Japan, and other key cities in Asia. One of my theories or basis for my explanation on this situation is that, these countries have a law or decree for each citizen, whether a man or woman, to serve a compulsory two-year service to its Armed Forces after finishing their secondary school. Nobody is exempted from this law or decree.
It is in the military training and service that each citizen is exposed to running as the main menu for physical conditioning and endurance. Two years of running every day in training and in service to the Armed Forces conditions the minds of these citizens that running is the most efficient and economical way to maintain an active healthy lifestyle. So, once they leave the service after their two-year compulsory service, they continue to apply the good values and the physical conditioning they have learned from the military. And running is the best means to maintain a good physical conditioning.
This is just my theory and anybody could argue with this. I could be wrong though.
After years when ROTC was abolished, I could see the youth to be weak, lanky, sickly, comfort-oriented, and worst, they are undisciplined. These are the youths who would stay in their bedrooms the whole day in front of their computer or those who are in malls watching movies or hanging around coffee shops and fast food chains and worst of all, those youths who are into drugs, alcohol and other vices. These youth who were into drugs, alcohol, gangs and other vices, were most likely the suspects and/or respondents to crimes committed to other persons and properties. How I wish there should be a study made to connect these non-ROTC trained youths to past crimes (murder, homicide, kidnapping, carnapping, or robbery) in the country.
It is about time that ROTC should go back as a compulsory subject for everybody in the first two years in college degrees. This will make our youth healthier, stronger, disciplined, and better runners!