Mandatory ROTC bill pending in House
President Duterte had earlier urged Congress to enact a law or he will just issue an executive order to require students to take the program.
Reserve Officers Training Corps – ROTC FB page
Mandatory ROTC bill pending in House
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - November 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Reinstituting the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools nationwide will not be an uphill battle because a bill is already pending at the House of Representatives and is just awaiting approval from lawmakers.

“I appeal to the House leadership to pass the ROTC bill in line with President Duterte’s desire to revive this, aimed at promoting the prime duty of the government to serve and protect the people,” House Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu said.

The Batangas lawmaker is the author of House Bill 5113, whose objective is to revive and “resuscitate” the ROTC.

Duterte had earlier urged Congress to enact a law or he will just issue an executive order to require students to take the program.

Abu said this will help instill patriotism among the youth as the ROTC “affirms the values that we have always been taught as children: discipline, camaraderie, respect for others, especially those who’ve come before us, and a deep sense of nationalism and love for country.”

“I believe that it awakens the spirit among the youth to serve and protect our peace and democracy, whether it be through internal or external forces,” he said, as he welcomed the support of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“As a large part of our children’s time is spent in school and this is where they spend most of their formative years, it is gratifying to know that we have the support of the DepEd and the AFP in the reinstitutionalization of the ROTC,” he added.

Back then, ROTC was compulsory for college students, particularly those in the first and second years, but due to the new K-12 curriculum, this can now be taken in their high school equivalent – Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools.

The measure aims to amend Republic Act 7077, or the “Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act” to make ROTC mandatory.

Generally, the proposed law will introduce basic military training for students in order to motivate, train, organize and utilize for national defense preparedness or civil-military operations.

“If implemented efficiently, it will have the potential to produce an entire generation of young Filipinos who will be proud of their Filipino heritage and are ready to give the entirety of their being to serve their countrymen,” Abu said.

“The rationale of this is for Filipino citizens to defend the state at all cost, and in a collective effort to make the Republic of the Philippines a real Southeast Asian superpower in the near future,” he added.

Citing Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, Abu said the government may call upon the people to defend the state and all citizens may be required based on conditions provided by law to render personal, military or civil service.

“The state recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs,” he said.

“The inculcation of the spirit of nationalism, nation-building and national preparedness among the country’s population is vital to the nation’s survival,” he added.

In consultation with other relevant government agencies and private stakeholders as the secretary of the Department of National Defense may determine, the DND, the DepEd and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority shall design and formulate the Program of Institution on the ROTC program in Grades 11 and 12.

The measure also provides first-level eligibility in the Civil Service to those graduates of the two-year basic ROTC course and have completed a four-year baccalaureate degree.

As part of providing incentives, graduates with advanced ROTC and finished a four-year course, are also guaranteed second-level eligibility in the Civil Service.

Strong opposition

Meanwhile, a children’s rights advocate yesterday strongly opposed Duterte’s plan to revive the mandatory ROTC, saying it would only teach students brutality, fascism, corruption and impunity.

“With the fascist and brutal record of the Duterte government, they do not have even an ounce of moral ascendancy to teach the youth about respect for human rights,” Salinlahi secretary-general Eule Rico Bonganay said.

“Despite its supposed objective of instilling nationalism, discipline and respect for human rights among the Filipino youth, the ROTC only teaches students brutality, fascism, corruption and impunity,” Bonganay stressed.

The death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) student Mark Welson Chua in 2001 prompted the passage of Republic Act 9163 or the National Service Training Program (NSTP), which made ROTC voluntary.

Chua was murdered after implicating the UST-ROTC in a corruption issue.

“More importantly, we should never forget the fact that the ROTC has been abolished because of massive protests of students over ROTC abuses and corruption, including the killing in 2001,” Bonganay said.

“The killing of Chua is just one of many ROTC-related violence. We should not let these hard-won struggles be put to waste and we should not let state terror and impunity continue to reign,” he said.

In July 2016, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon, son of former AFP chief Rodolfo Biazon, filed HB 1260, proposing the inclusion of ROTC as a mandatory part of the curricula for baccalaureate degree courses and two-year technical or vocational courses in state colleges and universities and technical and vocational institutions.

The ROTC is optional in private schools. – With Helen Flores

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