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NSTC-ROTC bill approval pushed

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
NSTC-ROTC bill approval pushed
Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman party-list and other military reservists pay a courtesy call on Speaker Martin Romualdez last week. With them are former Agusan del Norte congresswoman Charito Plaza, a PAF reservist; Maj. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nanac, AFP deputy chief for reservist and reservist affairs, and Brig. Gen. Vicente Ronatay.

MANILA, Philippines — A two-year mandatory citizen service training for college students is being pushed for approval by 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero.

Romero and other military reservists paid a courtesy call last week on Speaker Martin Romualdez, who promised to prioritize the enactment of the National Citizen Service Training (NSTC) and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) bill.

Romualdez is the principal author of the NSTC-ROTC bill, which has been pending in the Senate.

In December 2023, the House on third and final reading passed its version of the NSTC-ROTC bill, wherein college students will undergo a two-year mandatory citizen service training while ROTC will be optional.

Romero is a senior administration lawmaker and a Philippine Air Force (PAF) reserve officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He sits as chairman of the board of trustees of the Association of Reservists and Reservist Administrators Inc.

He also used to head the 55-member Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. in the House.

Among those who accompanied Romero during the courtesy call were former Agusan del Norte congresswoman Charito Plaza, brigadier general, PAF, reserve; Maj. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nanac, deputy chief of staff for reservist and reservist affairs; and Brig. Gen. Vicente Ronatay, chief of the AFP Reserve Command.

The NSTC-ROTC bill will amend Republic Act 7077 or the Reservists’ Law, which provides for the formation and training of a “citizen armed force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Romero said.

The House of Representatives and the Senate’s final approval of the measure would expand the military reservists’ organization, which could be deployed in times of emergencies and calamities, he said.

President Marcos has certified the bill as urgent, saying its enactment would enhance the capacity of Filipino citizens to mobilize and perform their constitutional duty to render military or civil service in times of calamities and disasters, national or local emergencies, rebellion, invasion, or war.

“This shall be made possible by the establishment of a unified, comprehensive, and holistic national citizens service training and mobilization system,” Marcos said.

Two weeks ago, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said the Senate would tackle the measure before Congress goes on its mandatory annual adjournment this week.

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