THE Department of Education cannot yet implement the Reserve Officers’ Training Course (ROTC) in Senior High School because it only passed in the House of Representatives, and it is not yet a law.
Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua said that although the “Mandatory ROTC House Bill” was certified urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte, the Senate was not able to pass it due to lack of time.
This means that because the Senate did not pass it, both houses of Congress cannot come for an agreement to finalize it into law.
“They have to resubmit this bill in the next Congress. Since the President already certified that this bill is a priority one, then the next Congress can act on it speedily,” Del Pascua said.
He said the next Congress will officially convene on July 23, during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of Duterte.
He said there is a move that the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be implementing ROTC in 100 pilot schools.
“But we cannot implement a pilot program if we don’t have a legal cover for the mandatory ROTC. There is an existing law that reverted ROTC into voluntary and we cannot just issue a memorandum or enter a joint circular with the AFP and DND to make it mandatory even if in pilot schools,” Del Pascua said.
He said that once it will be refiled and passed by the House, it will be forwarded to the Senate and a senator must file his own version. Once both House and the Senate will pass it, it will be forwarded to the bicameral committee to reconcile both versions.
Pascua said that once ROTC will be signed into law by the President, DepEd will partially introduce it in pilot areas, before implementing it in the entire country. (EOB)