ROTC institutionalization needs P23 B
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Some P23 billion will be needed to institutionalize the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for senior high school students, officials said yesterday.

During the Senate hearing on various proposals to institutionalize the ROTC, Brig. Gen. Rolando Rodil, chief of the Armed Forces Reserve Command, said the program aims to cover 11,000 in colleges and universities in the country that would need an average of P2 million each to be able to conduct the military and civic trainings for students.

Rodil told the Senate education committee that a college or university may need to put up facilities and purchase certain equipment for the implementation of the ROTC program.

Guido Alfredo Delgado, national commander of the University of the Philippines Vanguard – an association of graduate ROTC advanced courses – said the ROTC program may also need an additional 35,000 mostly military personnel to conduct the training.

Education Undersecretary Tonesito Umali, however, said the cost could go down if the program would be implemented gradually.

“(The cost) will raise a lot of eyebrows; (ROTC proposals) may even be shot down by lawmakers,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who presided over the hearing, said.

 Gatchalian asked the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces (AFP) to provide the panel a specific listing and breakdown of the cost of making ROTC mandatory in schools.

The committee was hearing four bills, including those filed by Gatchalian and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, seeking to revive the ROTC program.

Officials also debated on the level the ROTC program should be implemented. The DND and the AFP wanted it to be implemented on Grade 11 and 12 students, with them automatically becoming members of the military reserve force once the ROTC graduate reach the age of 18.

Delgado and UP Vanguard chairman Gilbert Reyes, however, warned that the compulsory nature of including ROTC graduates as members of the AFP reserve force could violate the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Delgado and Reyes suggested that the ROTC be implemented on the college level, where the students are already 18 years old.

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