Duterte wants to revive mandatory ROTC

(Philstar.com) - August 2, 2016 - 5:15pm

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants to revive the mandatory military training program for college students, believing this will instill discipline and patriotism among the youth.

The proposal to revive the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program was discussed during the cabinet meeting in Malacañang last Monday, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Tuesday.

“It seems that there is no discipline among the young generation so they get addicted to drugs. There is no spirit of love of country,” Panelo said when asked why the president supports the ROTC.

“You need to amend (the law) because now, it (ROTC) is optional. That is the consensus (during the meeting),” he added.

Panelo said the proposal to make the ROTC mandatory again was discussed by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan during the cabinet meeting.

“My plan is to study the ROTC and then maybe I will recommend to the president what amendments can be introduced,” the presidential legal counsel said.

He said Malacañang would then ask its allies in Congress to push for the revival of the mandatory military training.

ROTC is one of the three options of students who will undergo the National Service Training Program (NSTP). Other components of the program are the Civic Welfare Training Service, which will require students to join development programs and community service initiatives and the Literacy Training Service, which will allow students to teach public school students basic skills.

ROTC became optional after then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the NSTP law in 2002. Calls to scrap the mandatory ROTC program mounted following the death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Chua, who exposed the alleged anomalies in his unit.

Panelo said the proposed amendments to the NSTP Law would contain safeguards against abusive practices.

“Actually the problem was in the implementation. You have to cure the abuses,” he said.

Panelo clarified that the revival of the mandatory ROTC would not necessarily lead to the removal of the community service and literacy components of the NSTP. He said students who chose other NSTP components may still undergo military trainings.

Under the CHED proposal, women would also be required to undergo the ROTC program.

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