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Naval officer says ROTC should still be offered in schools

CEBU, Philippines - The Reserve Officers Training Course should be offered as an option in all schools.

This according to Commander George Fernandez, the new commanding officer of the naval reserve center for Central and Eastern Visayas, who paid a courtesy visit this week to Vice Governor Agnes Magpale who was then acting governor when Fernandez visited.

In an interview with the media, Fernandez said they are administering the ROTC program of the Philippine government right now to be strengthened in schools all over the region.

The mandatory ROTC program was abolished more than a decade ago following the death of a student in Manila who allegedly exposed irregularities of the program in his unit.

But Fernandez said despite it being discarded as mandatory, schools should still offer the program as an option for schools and it should be the students to decide whether they would enroll in it or not.

“Let the cadets choose what national service they should get,” he said.

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In 2002, former President Gloria Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9163 or the creation of the National Service Training Program.

With this law, college students have an option to choose between three voluntary programs which they need to complete.

Apart from ROTC and NSTP, students can opt for the Civil Welfare Training Service (CWTS).

Fernandez explained that the ROTC has always been beneficial because it inculcates discipline and nationalism among the younger generation.

Prior to his assignment in Visayas as well as in the central command in Manila, Fernandez handled the ROTC program in De la Salle University in Manila where he said 60 percent of the cadets were females, contradicting allegations that the program, specifically the rigorous training, is too hard for young men to handle.

“May misunderstanding lang,” said Fernandez, adding that there is no abuse in the program.

Fernandez said that there are schools that want to retain the ROTC program as mandatory especially schools offering maritime courses considering that foreign and local maritime companies prefer mariners with ROTC training.

Fernandez assumed office last April 2013 but reported only last month due to the recent election. He assumed the office of Commander Edmundo Baylon who is now the deputy commander for the Naval Reserve Command. (FREEMAN)

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