Marcos: ROTC a disaster preparedness measure
PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. highlighted on Saturday, July 30, 2022, the importance of reinstitution of the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program for senior high school students, especially in the bid to robust the country’s disaster preparedness.
Marcos said the proposed revival of the ROTC is not only aimed to ensure the country’s national defense preparedness.
“Mas marami rin tayong maihahanda na sibilyan para sa mga ganitong disaster response sa pamamagitan ng ROTC program dahil hindi lang naman national defense ang tinuturo sa kanila kundi disaster preparedness and capacity-building para dito nga sa tinatawag na risk-related situations na itinuturo sa kanila,” he said in a vlog posted in his Facebook account.
(We can prepare more civilians for such disaster responses through the ROTC program because they will be taught not only about national defense but also disaster preparedness and capacity-building for these so-called risk-related situations.)
During his first state of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 25, Marcos urged Congress to pass a measure to reinstitute the ROTC program as a mandatory component of senior high school programs in all public and private tertiary-level educational institutions.
He said this will include programs that will motivate, train, organize and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness, including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations.
He reiterated the importance of producing disaster responders who are properly trained and equipped with knowledge and skills in calamity response.
On July 27, a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Abra, which resulted in massive damage to infrastructure in the Cordillera and Ilocos regions.
As of July 31, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said over 82,000 families, which consists of more than 314,000 individuals, were affected by the effects of the tremor in 996 barangays.
A total of 21,890 houses incurred damages due to the earthquake.
The cost of infrastructure damage was pegged at P414,228 million.
After seeing the extent of damage caused by the earthquake, Marcos said that the country must also build disaster-proof communities.
“Ito ay nasira at kailangan talagang mai-restore kaagad. Kaya naman, lahat ng ating mga itatayo na mga bago ay dapat disaster-proof na ang ating pagplano sa itong mga ito mula sa mga kalye, building, pati na rin ‘yung heritage site, eskwelahan, ospital, mga bahay ng ating mga mamamayan,” he said.
(It's broken and really needs to be restored right away. That's why all our new buildings must be disaster-proof in our planning from streets, buildings, as well as heritage sites, schools, hospitals, and houses of our citizens.)
In a briefing during his visit to Abra, Marcos expressed support for the suggestion of his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, to strengthen the existing disaster agency and put it under the Office of the President instead of creating a new Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
Marcos earlier said he will push for the creation of DDR, a government agency specializing in disaster response.
He admitted that he “did not ever understand” the concept of having another department for the said purpose. (SunStar Philippines)