MANILA – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Thursday said a sub-committee has been created to ensure an impartial hearing on the proposed bills reviving the mandatory implementation of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

Escudero, Senate committee on higher, technical and vocational education chairperson, said the sub-committee will be headed by Senators “Bato” dela Rosa and Jinggoy Estrada since he personally opposes the mandatory ROTC.

“I am against for the return of ROTC in our curriculum, ayaw ko naman maging hadlang sa panukala. So, nagbuo tayo ng sub-committee para doon matalakay (I don’t want to be an obstacle. So, we created a sub-committee that will tackle it),” Escudero said.

De la Rosa, on the other hand, said he will request the Department of Education (DepEd) and other stakeholders to submit their position on the matter.

He said some sectors are in favor of the ROTC to be introduced in the senior high school while others want it reimposed at the college level.

Senator Win Gatchalian, committee on basic education, arts and culture chairperson, earlier said there is a big chance that the mandatory ROTC bill for senior high school students will be passed in the 19th Congress.

He said the ROTC program was among the priority bills mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July.

Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, who is also DepEd Secretary, also pushes for the revival of the program.

Gatchalian said the ROTC subject under his Senate Bill No. 387 is very much different from the previous one as this will adapt to modern times.

Under his bill, Gatchalian seeks the institutionalization and administration of the basic ROTC program for students enrolled in Grades 11 and 12.

The program, he said, will include basic military training to motivate, train, organize and utilize students for national defense preparedness or civil-military operations. The bill provides, however, that no student below the age of 18 shall take a direct part in hostilities.

Senator Robinhood “Robin” Padilla and de la Rosa also filed similar bills.

Under his Senate Bill 199, de la Rosa said an advanced ROTC is available in the first two years of higher education for those who want to become officers in the course.

Padilla’s Senate Bill 236, on the other hand, promotes more of the readiness of the youth to act on emergency cases, such as natural calamities.

He emphasized the need to reimpose mandatory ROTC programs, noting that since its removal, the youth's sense of pride, nationalism, and patriotism has changed. (PNA)