ROTC & Running


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!

Lecture & Clinic @ UP Vanguard


7:00 AM June 26, 2010/UP Vanguard, UP Diliman Campus  

After the June 12 Independence Day Half-Marathon Race, I had the chance to chat and have some photo-ops with the members of the UP Vanguard Running Club where four (4) of its members are “veterans” of BDM 102. Lt Colonel Roland Rodil of the Philippine Army, Commandant of the UP Vanguard and one of the few senior officers who is a competitive runner, requested me to conduct a running lecture and clinic to his cadets and “reservists” at the UP Campus. I immediately approved his request and with a few exchanges of e-mails and text messages, the activity was finally scheduled last Saturday, June 26, 2010 at the UP Vanguard Building.  

UP Vanguard Running Team

 I was received at the UP Vanguard Campus by Lt Col Roland Rodil and his staff on the early morning of Saturday, June 26, 2010. After breakfast and chat with the staff of the UP Vanguard, I was led to the lecture hall which is the top floor of the UP Vanguard Building with more than a hundred of ROTC Cadets and PA Reservists waiting for the start of the activity.  

The lecture started at 7:30 AM with a brief message and introduction for me by Lt Col Roland Rodil. The lecture was too detailed for the younger audience to be aware of the basics and principles in running. After a two-hour lecture and Open Forum, the audience was led to the streets of the campus for the practical portion of the clinic.  

Running Lecture With The ROTC Cadets of UP Diliman
More Than 100 Cadets & Reservists Attended
Lt Col Roland Rodil, Commandant of UP Vanguard Presenting A Memento

 The practical and actual demonstration was led by the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner. The clinic started with the different stretching exercises, running “drills”, and a 2-Km easy run around the campus. Another 1 1/2 hours were devoted to this part of the event.  

Stretching Exercises Done Properly With The Elite Runners
Another View of the Stretching Exercises
Running "Drills" Around the UP Vanguard Campus
2K Non-Stop Run Before The End of the Clinic
Group Picture With UP Vanguard & Reservists After The Activity

 Lt Col Rodil’s initiative in this activity is very commendable. Teaching these college students on the benefits of running is a good move to expose them on the benefits of adhering to an active and healthy lifestyle through running. I would be very much happy that at least 10-20 of these ROTC cadets will pursue running as part of their way of life.  

Through the ROTC program and the Philippine Army’s Reserve Force Development, my advocacy to spread the basics of running had taken off in tandem with my running clinics with the corporate world. Hopefully, this will increase the number of runners who will be guided with proper basics and training principles.  

Mabuhay kayo, Lt Col Rodil, UP Vanguard and PA Reservists!