March 15, 2019
The recent death of a student of Iloilo State College of Science and Technology (ISCOF) last 11 March 2019 at the ISCOF-Dumangas Campus Boys Dormitory has triggered news releases and allegations by individuals, civil society organizations and government that are not based on facts and has muddled the case.
Groups such as Kabataan Party-list and the Commission on Human Rights have used the issue to express their opposition against the mandatory ROTC and have connected this incident to what they call the “culture of impunity and abuse”. The Commission on Human Rights has also related the incident to ROTC, stating that both the victim and the accused were under a national program meant to develop physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being.
As Chairman of the ISCOF Board of Regents and with reports from ISCOF President Dr. Godelyn G. Hisole, here are the pertinent facts:
1) The victim Willy L. Amihoy is a first year student taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Biological Science. ISCOF records show that Amihoy is currently enrolled in NSTP under the ROTC program. On the other hand, the suspect Elmer A. Decilao is a graduating student taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics. Decilao was once an ROTC officer but is currently not in active duty. The incident did not happen during an “ROTC formation” or any event relating to the conduct of an ROTC-related activity.
2) A case against Decilao was already filed at the provincial prosecutor’s office;
3) ISCOF has given financial assistance and insurance to the bereaved family through the Office of student Affairs and Services. Legal assistance and accommodations have also been given to the family who are from Negros Oriental;
4) The university, with the help of the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, Inc. (PGCA) will be conducting a stress debriefing for the students or staff who were traumatized by what happened;
5) The university has also declared a day of mourning and will conduct appropriate religious ceremonies for the affected victims, families and the academic community; and,
6) The university will provide assistance in transporting the body of the victim to his hometown in Tayasan, Negros Oriental.
I call on all groups to stop using this issue to push for their anti-ROTC agenda. The death of Willy Amihoy is not an ROTC-related matter. The use of this incident for propaganda purposes is insensitive and an insult to the families of the victim and the accused. I call on everyone to let the pertinent authorities to handle the case according to the rule of law and due process.
Issued this 15th of March 2019 at the Higher Education Development Center Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.
For the Commission:
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education