MALACAÑANG and the Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday, May 21, welcomed as "good news" the approval by the House of Representatives of a measure reviving the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) for senior high school students.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the proposed measure has the backing of President Rodrigo Duterte, who wants to instill discipline among the youth through mandatory ROTC.
"That's good news. The President wants that passed," the Palace official told a press conference.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, for his part, said the reinstatement of mandatory ROTC will help instill love of country, good citizenship, respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law.
“We thank our legislators for making the youth their priority. Now more than ever, we need the strength of an empowered Filipino youth with leadership, sense of duty and service, discipline, and leadership to sustain our nation’s growth and momentum,” he said.
“I am greatly delighted by the passage of the ROTC bill in the House. Hopefully the Senate will also pass it during this Congress so that we can start implementing it this coming school year,” he added.
On Monday, May 20, 167 lawmakers approved on third and final reading House Bill 8961 which mandates the reinstatement of the mandatory ROTC for grades 11 and 12 students in public and private schools.
The ROTC, which used to be mandatory, became optional in 2002 through Republic Act (RA) 9163 or the National Service Training Program (NSTP) which was passed in 2001 under the Arroyo government.
ROTC, one of the three components of the NSTP, provides military training to motivate and train students for national defense preparedness.
The two other components of the NSTP are the Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and the Literacy Training Service and (LTS).
In November 2018, Duterte said making ROTC program mandatory for students would "instill patriotism [and] love of country among our youth."
Under HB 8961, grades 11 and 12 students, both in public and private schools, are mandated to undergo the ROTC program, which includes lessons in patriotism, basic military training, and civic training.
Students who fail to undergo ROTC will not be qualified for graduation, the proposed measure states.
The proposed measure, however, exempts students who are not physically and psychologically fit, as well as varsity players. (Ruth Abbey Gita/Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)