Former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga wants to abolish the National Service Training
Program (NSTP) for college students which gives the students the option to either take up Civic Welfare Training Service or Literacy Training Service in lieu of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Arroyo made the proposal under House Bill 5305, which provides for a mandatory Basic Citizen Service Training Course (CSTC) for college students in baccalaureate degree and vocational courses in all public and private universities, colleges and other learning institutions in the country.
Under her bill, the program will expand the ROTC’s training program to include trainings in internal security, peace and order and disaster risk reduction and management.
“Youth training should not only be confined to external and territorial defense. This measure seeks to establish a comprehensive framework for the training and mobilization of our youth and implements the constitutional vision of drawing them into the mainstream of national life by providing avenues for their participation in public and civic affairs,” Arroyo said.
All those who will finish the CSTC will become part of the Citizen Service Corps and may be called upon by the government, including its agencies and local government units, to defend the State against external aggressors to defend its territory, assist in matters of internal security and peace order and serve during times of calamities and other emergencies.
An Advance CSTC may also be taken and upon completion graduates of the program will be entitled to a reserve commission as a Second Lieutenant or its equivalent in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and Office of Civil Defense provided that they obtain a baccalaureate degree within four years after completion.
Those who will fail to respond to the order of deployment for external and territorial defense will be punished in accordance with the Articles of War and upon conviction by a court martial will be meted with a penalty of imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than two years.
those who fail to respond to order of deployment for internal security and peace and order or during times of disaster, on the other hand, will be meted with imprisonment of up to six months and 480 hours of community service.
Also, Arroyo’s measure creates a Citizen Service Mobilization Commission to eliminate abuses and controversies created with the mandatory implementation of the ROTC as well as to institute rules and implement safeguards including audit on the fees that will be collected under the course and conduct investigation on anomalies and abuses.
The commission will be composed of a chairman and four commissioners with fixed terms of four and two years.
“For acts already penalized under existing laws such as corruption, graft, hazing, sexual harassment and other abuses committed by persons authorized to implement the CSTC and deployment of the Corps, the maximum imposable under existing law shall be imposed,” Arroyo said.