Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, the Army’s 10th Infantry Division commander. (Photo courtesy of the 10ID)

DAVAO CITY – A Philippine Army official here supported the pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reinstitute the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) as a mandatory component for senior high school programs.

Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, the Army's 10th Infantry Division (ID) commander, said the return of the ROTC “will raise the sense of nationhood and patriotism of our youth who are the future leaders of this country.”

“A majority, if not all developed countries, have this kind of program for the youth,” he said in an interview here Tuesday.

Mempin said he is confident that the resumption of ROTC will keep the Philippines at par with its neighboring countries in terms of national defense and shaping patriotism among the youth.

In the Southeast Asian region, Indonesia is regarded to be the strongest military in terms of overall units and manpower, while Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore are also considered to be well-equipped with the best military assets.

“National Security and nation-building is everybody's concern. Thus, the youth sector plays a crucial role in this,” Mempin said.

In his first SONA, Marcos said the move to reinstitute the ROTC program for senior high school level (Grades 11 and 12) in all public and private tertiary-level educational institutions will "motivate, train, organize and mobilize the students for national defense preparedness," including disaster preparedness and capacity building for risk-related situations.

It was former President Rodrigo Duterte who urged Congress to enact a law that would revive the mandatory ROTC, or he would issue an executive order that would make it so in 2018.

Duterte said the mandatory ROTC for senior high school students will “instill patriotism” and “love of country among our youth”. (PNA)