Cebu News

Gullas backs compulsory military service for youth

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu First District Rep. Eduardo Gullas favors the proposal of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for all able-bodied Filipinos to render compulsory military service upon reaching 18 years old.

“Military service for our youth is great for nation-building,” said the House of Representatives Assistant Majority Leader in a statement yesterday.

Gullas said that besides improving in a big way our national defense preparedness, military service will also instill in young Filipinos a deeper sense of duty to country.

Military service, Gullas said, will likewise provide young Filipinos new life skills and reinforce their abilities to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life.

Duterte-Carpio earlier said that if elected vice president, she would use her office to persuade Congress to pass a new law requiring all fit Filipinos to perform military service, just like in Israel and South Korea.

 Gullas said that the vice presidentiable’s proposal is even better than the bill that seeks to revive the mandatory military education and training program for male college students.

Gullas is author of House Bill 1788, which seeks to reinstate the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in all private and public higher education institutions.

 Under the bill, the ROTC program shall be applicable to all male students enrolled in all colleges and universities.

The program shall form part of the curricula of all baccalaureate degree courses as well as two-year technical- vocational courses as a requisite for graduation.

Female students may likewise undergo the program on a voluntary basis.

 As proposed by Gullas, the ROTC program shall have two phases. The first two years which is the basic course shall be mandatory. While the second two years which is the advance course shall be voluntary.

The program of instruction shall be prescribed by the Department of National Defense for the purpose of producing enlisted reservists (for those who completed the basic course) and officer reservists (for those who completed the advance course).

The ROTC program used to be compulsory for all male college students until it was made optional under the National Service Training Program Law of 2002 or Republic Act No. 9163.

Meanwhile, the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) wholly denounced Duterte-Carpio’s proposal as they believed it is a clear sign of what a Marcos-Duterte regime would be like which is fascist, militaristic, and tyrannical.

“We believe no candidate can be trusted if they view the youth not as people, but as mere ammunition,” SPARk said.

The group added that proposing mandatory military service does nothing to address the surge in COVID-19 cases, rampant corruption in the health sector, and the crippling lack of social aid.

 Such proposal, they said, would only further divert crucial funding from these issues.  — JMD (FREEMAN)

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