DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte hits back at fellow vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello over the mayor’s proposal pushing for mandatory military service for all Filipinos reaching the age of 18 — male or female.

Duterte-Carpio immediately responded to Bello's tirades in a press statement after the latter, a running mate of labor leader Leody de Guzman, tweeted that the mayor is slowly showing the "dictatorship" side of her father.

“I truly hope that our youth do not grow up to be a Walden Bello — an ungrateful citizen who sleeps peacefully at the comfort of their homes, unable to say a prayer or a silent ‘thank you’ to the men and women who became martyrs while countering violent extremism, insurgency, and terrorism,” the mayor said.

“If only Walden Bello wasn’t so quick to jump the gun, he would know that my vision was not only to push for mandatory military service for the youth,” she said. “And an 18-year-old is definitely not a child.”

Duterte-Carpio said only the likes of Bello would think of mandatory military service for Filipino citizens “as arming them and telling them to kill -- instead of looking at it as something that inspires patriotism in the youth.”

“If only he wasn’t so quick to react, he would have realized that I also emphasized the need for the youth to be prepared for disasters and become proactive community partners in rescue operations and in aiding victims of calamities,” she added.

The presidential daughter said she also mentioned during the virtual caravan that the youth should play active roles in advancing their own welfare, particularly in the past of health, education, gender equality, and reproductive issues.

“I wanted them to be able to stand on their own, help themselves, help the communities, and help the nation,” she added.

The obsession over dictatorship in the Philippines, she added “is as ancient as the belief that the youth have no actual important role in building a nation that is progressive and peaceful.”

“If only Mr. Bello did not stop at what he has been so stuck in over the past many years — dictatorship in the Philippines, something that we know is a lie in the present time — he would have a better understanding of what I truly stand for,” Duterte-Carpio said.

Bello aired his sentiment on the mayor’s proposal on the same day she announced it.

"Sara Duterte’s pledge to use the OVP to promote mandatory military service reveals her for the dictator-in-waiting she is, and tells us that she will be no different from Duterte Sr.," the former partylist lawmaker said on Twitter.

In a follow-up tweet, Bello added that Duterte’s legacy was to arm people and tells them to kill and now the daughter wants to do this to the youth too.

"Like father, like daughter. Duterte’s legacy was to arm people and tell them to kill. Now his daughter wants to do it to the youth as well," he wrote.

Bello, an activist during the Martial Law era, had aired his opposition on the presidential candidacy of Duterte-Carpio's running mate, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Unlike the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), Duterte-Carpio said training for individuals enrolling in compulsory military service would not last for just one weekend or a month.

"Gagamitin ko ang aking opisina (I will use my office) — Office of the Vice President — para kausapin ang ating (to talk to our) Congress and the Senate of the Philippines to make military service for all 18 years old, male and female, mandatory in our country," she said during the UniTeam Alliance's virtual caravan on Wednesday, January 20.

The mayor said countries like South Korea and Israel have been requiring their citizens to perform military service.

"Dapat po lahat ng ating 18 years old, pagtungtong mo ng 18 years old, you will be given a subsidy, you will be asked to serve the country, doon sa ating (there in our) Armed Forces of the Philippines," she said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor's father, has been pushing for the revival of the mandatory ROTC since he was elected in 2016.

ROTC was made optional as one of the three National Service Training Program (NSTP) courses for college and university students.

The NSTP Act of 2001 was passed following the controversial death of ROTC Officer Mark Chua, who had published an exposé on alleged irregularities in the ROTC unit of his school, the University of Santo Tomas (UST), in its students' publication The Varsitarian.

His body was found floating in Pasig River, bound with packing tape and wrapped inside a carpet in March 2001.