MND to investigate penalty given in reserve officer trainee injury case
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday pledged to review a complaint made by a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) enrollee who was allegedly forced to pay a penalty fee after leaving the program due to injury.
January 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
During a press conference held in Taipei yesterday, the ROTC enrollee, surnamed Tsai, accused the military of asking him to pay a NT$310,000 fee for withdrawing from the MND-initiated program.
Tsai said he decided to drop out after suffering spinal disc herniation, an injury he received from the program's intense training regime.
Not only did Tsai not receive proper medical treatment from the military following the injury, he became a laughing stock among other trainees in the program due to his underperformance, Tsai said.
Tsai said he was later forced by the MND to quit the program and to sign a form listing his reason for dropping out as lack of interest rather than health problem, an act for which the enrollee is held financially liable.
Tsai argued that he should not pay the penalty fee since he still wanted to be a military officer and that it was his injury which prevented him from completing the course.
In response, Chung Kuo-ping (鍾國屏), a National Defense Medical Bureau section chief who joined the same press conference, said two physical examinations of Tsai showed that he is still physically qualified to continue his ROTC course.
Therefore, if he wants to withdraw from the government-subsided program he needs to first pay the fee, Chung said.
MND Manpower Division deputy chief Peng Li-ching (彭立青), however, said that the ministry will launch a probe to see if Tsai was mistreated during his training, and will present a full review in a month.
Taiwan's ROTC system allows university-level enrollees to continue their academic training while receiving military training only on summer and winter vacations.
Under the program, the MND will provide ROTC students three years of financial aid for their university studies. After graduation, ROTC students will be required to serve in the military for five years.