DND lauds House for approving ROTC bill on 2nd reading

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 8, 2019, 11:57 am

MANILA -- The Department of National Defense (DND) has expressed its gratitude to the House of Representatives for approving on second reading the proposed bill, which seeks to reinstate the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for Grades 11 and 12.

"As the voice of the Filipino people, our Representatives’ votes truly reflect the collective sentiments of our people, especially the Filipino youth who will greatly benefit from the ROTC program, which aims to instill patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual values, respect for human rights and adherence to the Constitution," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement late Thursday.

He added that this legislation will beef up the country's reserve force, which is an important component of the Philippine national defense and security.

"We thank our legislators for their strong support and appeal to both chambers of Congress to fast-track this key defense advocacy of developing the Filipino youth as our nation’s future defenders, patriots and leaders," Andolong said.

House Bill (HB) No. 8961 seeks to amend for the purpose, Republic Act No. 7077 or the Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act. Under the proposed measure, ROTC training would apply to “all students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions.”

The bill also states that ROTC training shall be a requirement for graduation. As provided, the following students may be exempted: those who are physically or psychologically unfit; those who have undergone or are undergoing similar military training; those who are chosen by their school to serve as the school’s varsity players in sports competition; and those who may be exempted from training for valid reasons as approved by the DND, upon recommendation by an educational institution where the concerned student is enrolled.

The proposed measure also strictly prohibits the use of ROTC training for “political” objective and for teaching and instilling a particular political ideology on students.

HB 8961 also specifically bans hazing and other forms of physical or mental abuse. (PNA)