DepEd backs revival of mandatory ROTC
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education supports the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and is optimistic that the bill will be passed before Congress adjourns next month.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said the program would provide the Philippines a source of defense and would help instill discipline and patriotism among students.
“As a matter of principle, I am for the mandatory ROTC,” Briones said in a press briefing Wednesday in Malacañang.
“We cannot be relying on other countries to defend us…external assistance takes too long to arrive so we have to rely on ourselves,” she added.
Last Monday, the House of Representatives passed on final reading the bill reviving the mandatory military training program for grades 11 and 12 students, one of the measures being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The Senate’s version of the bill is still pending at the committee level.
DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said his agency remains optimistic about the passage of the ROTC bill because supporters of the measure have the numbers in the Senate.
“If the Senate will be passing the bill before June 7, then they will meet as a bicam and have the bill submitted to the president. If we can implement that by June for example of this year, that would depend if the law would be signed by the president by that time,” Pascua said.
The mandatory ROTC program was scrapped after former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the National Service Training Program (NSTP) law in 2002. Under the law, students have the option to choose one of the three NSTP components namely the ROTC, the Civic Welfare Training Service, and the Literacy Training Service.
Calls to abolish the mandatory ROTC mounted following the murder of Mark Chua, a University of Santo Tomas student who exposed the alleged anomalies in his unit.
Briones said the DepEd would have an “expanded role” in the ROTC as it has proposed the inclusion of lessons on history and nationalism in the military training.
“I have sat through some of the curriculum, the subjects studied by the students, so we can ensure that history, nationalism and protection of the country so on will be instilled on them,” the Education chief said.