Senate subpanel to tackle mandatory ROTC

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

February 18, 2019, 4:27 pm

MANILA -- A subcommittee of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture is set to hold a joint hearing on Wednesday on a measure proposing the re-institutionalization of the mandatory military and civic Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the subcommittee tasked to study the ROTC revival, said the guests invited to the public hearing include Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Commission on Higher Education chair Prospero de Vera, and University of the Philippines Vanguard Executive Director Robert Coscolluela.

Gatchalian, who authored Senate Bill No. 200, said ROTC is a "powerful means of instilling patriotism and discipline in the Filipino youth.”

He cited a recent Pulse Asia survey conducted on December 14-21 last year, showing that 1,440 of 1,800 respondents or 80 percent agree to the implementation of ROTC in senior high, in college, or in both.

Further breakdown from this data shows that 34 percent want the program implemented in both senior high school and college, 28 percent want it implemented only in college, while 18 percent want ROTC only in senior high school.

Only 15 percent opposed the implementation of the program, while the remaining 5 percent are neutral on the issue, Gatchalian said.

“By instilling in our students a sense of patriotism and discipline, we are also unlocking their potential to become future leaders and training them to become productive members of society,” he said.

The House of Representatives has already approved House Bill No. 8961, which seeks to amend for the purpose, Republic Act No. 7077 or the Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act.

Under the 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.

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